Audra McDonald

The Glamorous Life

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Ordinary mothers lead ordinary lives—
Keep the house and sweep the parlour,
Mend the clothes and tend the children.
Ordinary mothers, like ordinary wives,
Make the beds and bake the pies
And wither on the vine…
Not mine.

Dying by inches every night—
What a glamorous life!
Pulled on by winches to recite—
What a glamorous life!

Ordinary mothers never get the flowers,
And ordinary mothers never get the joys,
But ordinary mothers couldn't cough for hours,
Maintaining their poise.

Sandwiches only,
But she eats what she wants when she wants!
Sometimes it's lonely,
But she meets many handsome gallants!

Ordinary mothers don't live out of cases,
But ordinary mothers don't go different places—
Which ordinary mothers can't do, being mothers all day!
Mine's away in a play—
And she's realer than they…

What if her brooch is only glass,
And her costumes unravel?
What if her coach is second-class:
She at least gets to travel!

And sometime this summer—meaning soon,
She'll be travelling to me!
Sometime this summer—maybe June,
I'm the new place she'll see!

Ordinary daughters may think life is better
With ordinary mothers near them when they choose—
But ordinary daughters seldom get a letter
Enclosing reviews!

Gay and resilient, with applause—
What a glamorous life!
Speeches are brilliant, if they're Shaw's—
What a glamorous life!

Ordinary mothers needn't meet committees,
But ordinary mothers don't get keys to cities—
No, ordinary mothers merely see their children all year,
Which is nothing, I hear…
But it does interfere
With the glamorous—

I am the princess guarded by dragons
Snorting and grumbling and rumbling in wagons…
She's in her kingdom, wearing disguises,
living a life that is full of surprises…

And sometime this summer, she'll come galloping
Over the green!
Sometime this summer, to the rescue,
My mother, the queen!

Ordinary mothers thrive on being private,
And ordinary mothers somehow can survive it,
But ordinary mothers never know they're just standing still—
With their kettles to fill—
While they're missing the thrill
Of the glamorous life!

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