by Jeannie E. Roberts
One must imagine Sisyphus happy . . . the struggle itself towards the heights
is enough to fill a man's heart. ―Albert Camus, "The Myth of Sisyphus"
Like King Sisyphus and his eternal bolder-rolling condemnation,
she couldn't help but contemplate her past, her naive decisions,
rebellious blunders, and impertinent mistakes. Had the gods
also arranged this Sisyphean effort? It came close, those months
of hauling and assembling cots. Some weeks seemed like an eternity.
Her pincher fingers would never be the same, nor would her hands,
arms, and back. Was her inner drive set for self-destruction?
Perhaps her outspoken words were the straws that broke the Greek
gods' backs, for she had entered an underworld of crying, screaming,
diapers, and unwieldy cots.
Greek myth has Sisyphus rolling a bolder uphill, only to watch
it roll back down. There’s no doubt that this endless undertaking
was laborious and repetitive, but was it futile?
During the downward spiral, one can imagine rest, even contentment,
for there's time to reflect upon the upward struggle. Like the rise
and fall of a wave or the inhale and exhale of breath, the struggle
itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's [or woman's]
heart. There may be joy, even divinity in the abiding day-to-day tasks,
including the hauling and assembling of cots, for children may nap,
and preschool teachers may muse, float in the ebb, for an hour or so,
or at least until the waves rise, awaken.
* * * * *
Jeannie E. Roberts has authored four poetry collections, including The Wingspan of Things (Dancing Girl Press, 2017), Romp and Ceremony (Finishing Line Press, 2017), Beyond Bulrush (Lit Fest Press, 2015), and Nature of it All (Finishing Line Press, 2013). She is also the author and illustrator of Rhyme the Roost! A Collection of Poems and Paintings for Children (forthcoming from Daffydowndilly Press, an imprint of Kelsay Books, 2019) as well as Let's Make Faces!, a children's book dedicated to her son (author-published, 2009). She is Poetry Editor of the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs and a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.