Crimes Against My Sanity

At any-given-time o’clock
While tidying my house, I find—
Oh look—is that another sock?

It really isn’t such a shock;
My kids for chaos were designed
At any-given-time o’clock.

I can’t tell if they try to mock
Me, or if they are truly blind
(Oh look—is that another sock?)—

They’ve littered every floor I walk,
Each place I peek beneath, behind
(At any-given-time o’clock),

With misplaced toys, with bits of chalk,
Gum wrappers, sticky spots, a rind—
Oh look—is that another sock?

It’s hard to breathe, to think, to talk,
To settle down, relax, unwind,
When any-given-time o’clock…
Oh look—is that another sock?!!



Time Machine

Time never stands still, but the shower
Sure muffles out sound rather well—
__Are those my kids screaming?
__Or am I just dreaming?
In the shower I really can’t tell.

The shower makes strife disappear:
__Are those sounds of a fight?—
__No, I’m not hearing right.
And when the kids shout that they can’t live without me—
It’s okay to ignore them in here.

That steady pounding on the door?
It’s rolling thunder, nothing more,
Or maybe surf upon the shore.

__No needs are presented,
__No requests are repeated;
__My feelings are vented,
__My thoughts are completed!

In this gently falling rain,
I am finding peace again…

No, time doesn’t stop in the shower;
How I wish it would really comply!
__It’s so hard to believe
__Half an hour has passed
Before I am finally dry.

__But my soul is scrubbed clean
__As the first dawn of spring,
__And I can handle anything!—

—Well, at least I’ll have to try…



Leave Me Alone

I’m off again, so far from home;
__I’ve heard adventure calling:
Through countless perils, new and strange
__I roam uncharted lands,
O’er mountain peaks, ‘cross turbid streams,
__Through meadows, vast and sprawling,
Surviving by my nimble wit
__And even nimbler hands…

When my unbroken concentration
__Suddenly is broken,
And distantly a murmur grows,
__Of tiny voices pleading;
The spell’s dispelled by cries of “Mommm!”—
__More shouted out than spoken—
Oh, why is it they cannot see
__That I’m not here?
________________I’m READING!

Previously published in The Lyric



A Pennsylvania native now residing in Colorado, Anna J. Arredondo is an engineer by education, a home educator by choice, and by preference, a poet.  She also has poems published in Light, The Lyric, and Time of Singing.

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22 Responses

  1. jd

    Been there, Anna, and believe it or not, sometimes
    I miss it. Enjoyed reading all three. I think there may be a typo in the final verse of the first with an “e” missing in “breath”.

    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Oh, I believe it. I anticipate I will miss it too — someday! Thank you so much for your comment, and for catching the typo (which for the record was *my* fault, though I do know how to spell breathe). Thanks also to Mike Bryant for the quick correction!

  2. C.B. Anderson

    All three were delightful. The tetrameter villanelle fairly crackles, and I liked the experimental heterometrics in “Time Machine”. Regarding the third poem, the insertion of “Suddenly is broken,” which is a trochaic line, really jacks up the rhythm, especially following a feminine ending, and I probably got more reading done back when kids were still in the house.

    Fine job.

    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Thank you, C.B. Means a lot. I appreciate having a word for what I did in “Time Machine” — heterometrics. Makes perfect sense, but I had never heard the word till now. One thing I like about both your poetry and your comments: my vocabulary always gets a boost!

  3. Norma Pain

    Wonderfully funny and clever reads Anna. I also enjoyed all three and totally appreciate the sentiments expressed. When I look back on those times, I can appreciate it as funny, but not so much in the moment. Thank you for these fun poems.

    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Thank you so much, Norma. Yes, not always so funny in the moment, but having a sense of humor sure helps when you’re right in the middle of the mess!

  4. Paul Buchheit

    Fun poems, Anna. And a great way to use your occasional breaks from the kids!

    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Thanks, Paul! I read “Crimes Against My Sanity” to my kids the moment I finished writing it. They got a kick out of it, but haven’t made any appreciable changes… 😉

  5. Joshua C. Frank

    Anna, all these are great! You’ve captured the day-to-day experience well. (I don’t have children, but I’ve had puppies, and they do all this too.)

    My favorite is the first one, because the villanelle is the perfect form for the topic of the Sisyphean task that is housework. But all three are well done!

    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Joshua, that’s an apt observation about the villanelle form and the Sisyphean task of housework, especially when it involves picking up after kids (or puppies). Thanks for the comment!

  6. Paul Freeman

    Crimes against Insanity – To make a villanelle so seamlessly chatty, humorous and relatable is stunning poetry.

    Time Machine – Pruned, but happy – until the next shower. So innovative to use something so prosaic as a shower to over-arch the poem. For some reason I was recalling the ‘orgasmatron’ from the Woody Allen film, ‘Sleeper’.

    Leave me Alone – I’m currently in Monaco (Chapter Three of ‘Rebecca’).

    Thanks for three great reads, Anna. Keep up the showering, the reading and the sanity.

    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Thank you, Paul. “Stunning” and “innovative” — I’ll take that! I’ll do my best at keeping it all up. 🙂

  7. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    These three beautifully crafted poems depict the daily duties of motherhood perfectly. I love your choice of the villanelle form for “Crimes Against My Sanity” (great title!). The repetition works superbly, and the easy conversational flow is masterly. My favorite is “Leave Me Alone”… but, only because I relate to it in my mainly adult world… nothing and no one should come between me and my book. 😉 Anna, thank you for these highly entertaining, admirably woven poems. They’re wonderful!

    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Susan, thank you for the generous praise. I’m so happy you can relate to that last one. That “nothing and no one should come between me and my book” — I couldn’t agree more! 😉

  8. Roy Eugene Peterson

    I love your poems on parenting and sense the occasional frustration with intrusions into your own quiet time–while never ceasing to love the little critters.

    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Thank you for your comment, Roy. I’m happy to see that the tone I intended has come through. Frustrating, but wouldn’t trade it for the world!

  9. Margaret Coats

    Truly entertaining descriptions, Anna. I recall that at this stage of life a simple shower was the luxurious equivalent of girls’ day out at the salon spa. Or perhaps, of being up early enough and refreshed enough to go on that adventurous reading excursion!

    I hope Evan will add “Villanelle” to the categories for this post. A tetrameter villanelle is as good as any other. In fact, the very first villanelle (circa 1600 by Jean Passerat) of the now-standard form is in French octosyllables, and it has been translated into English tetrameter by villanelle scholar Amanda French, with two other English tetrameter versions by George Wyndham and by me. Yours, Anna, is more fun.


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