May 15, 2015

I am a "nester."  Not as in empty nest, but as in wanting to always make where I hang out feel homey and comfortable.  I've lived in umpteen apartments that, truth be told, were pretty dreary, but I somehow managed to hang art on the walls, drape a quilt over a sofa and make it feel like home.  And since so much of my time is spent at work, I tend to do the same with the office space I inhabit on a daily basis.  Kind of a cubicle, sweet cubicle, thing.  This, however, is coming to a screeching halt today as my place of work is starting a building wide remodeling project and that means temporarily all of us cubicle dwellers are being displaced.  It will be an interesting summer, combining workstation sharing, working from my home office, working in coffee shops, and maybe even occasionally working on my laptop on my deck near my garden.  

So today I bid adieu to the gray cubicle that I tried my best to infuse with warmth and a touch of personality. Everything is safely packed up and in my car trunk.  My cubicle is empty and all I need to do is unplug my phone and laptop and walk away. And to close out the end of my cubicle era, I thought you might enjoy a few of these humorous parodies, because even if my office space no longer has room for my poetry books, fortunately poetry can be carried in the heart...

The Cubicle Less Traveled By
Two cubicles in my new office stood,
And sorry I could not claim them both,
I pondered longer than I should
Which would do the greater good
To stimulate careerish growth.
The first was colder than I could bear,
Beneath an overzealous vent;
The other was fine, with warmer air,
But to the network printer there,
A steady stream of people went.
And long I dithered there in vain,
Weighing the less distracting glitch.
Would cold or traffic render me insane?
And knowing how moving’s such a pain
I doubted I should ever want to switch.
I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Someday ages and ages hence:
Two cubicles vacant stood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Goodbye, Monets, that made me want to step into the picture and glide down the river or sip a cool glass of lemonade...

Goodbye, Prairie Woman (artist Harvey Dunn).  I've admired your strength and grace since I was a teen--and I have always carried a piece of South Dakota in my heart and on my walls...

Goodbye, lovely reminders of Kensington Palace and all the fun I had in London...

Goodbye, lovely prairie prints and my graceful McCoy vase, that I filled with garden flowers all summer long...

Goodbye pictures of Greece and Maine, and all the sweet memories they remind me of...
Avoiding One’s Cubicle on a Busy Morning
Whose cube this is, I think I know–
Its owner’s in a meeting, though.
She will not see me stopping here
To watch her philodendron grow.
It’s odd my feet should try to steer
This way when there is no one here.
It’s just to keep the office flake
From blithely talking off my ear.
“Hello,” I said–a big mistake,
Which led to an extended break,
In which I barely gave a peep,
Nor he a pause, a breath to take.
The chance of an encounter’s steep,
But I have deadlines still to keep:
Back to my cube, I’ll have to creep…
Back to my cube, I’ll have to creep.

Goodbye, family photos that make me smile, and the philodendron that added a much needed touch of green...

Emily Dickinson’s Lunch Hour
Because I could not stop for lunch,
And leave at half-past three,
I stayed inside my cubicle,
And worked on, grumpily.
I soon recalled I hadn’t brought–
Or purchased on the way–
A sandwich, drink, and bag of chips,
For this contingency.
My window showed where children played
A game out in the sun–
I watched–then turned to face
The work still to be done.
Or, rather, tried to face the work–
Distractions do abound–
And hunger just accelerates
The mental runaround.
My fellow workers paused outside
My cube and talked of food,
And ever since my abdomen
Has given rumblings rude.
‘Tis hours since lunch, and yet there seems
No ending to the day.
How long until my work’s complete?
Right now, eternity–

Goodbye, little reminders of my love for my family, my passion for travel, my enjoyment of a good cup of tea (and Jane Austen!), my enthusiasm for poetry...

Goodbye, banker's lamp, favorite coffee mug and a little reminder to keep calm...

Emily Gets the Last Word
The bustle in a cube–when an employee quits–
Would give the former occupant a half a dozen fits.
The clearing off of shelves, and filching of supplies
That they won’t need to use again is Practical, not Nice.

Poems based on “The Road Less Traveled,” by Robert Frost
“Because I could not stop for Death,” by Emily Dickinson
“Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening,” by Robert Frost
“The bustle in the house,” by Emily Dickinson


  1. Martha! What a great post! Thoroughly enjoyed reading this as I sit in my own cubicle this morning. Change, the only constant in life, eh? Good summering to you!

  2. Hi. I'm so glad you liked my poems and am honored that you liked them well enough to post them on your page. I appreciate that you also posted a link to my page. Could I also trouble you to add a line somewhere of the "Office poetry by ThePunnery/Donald Parker" variety? Thanks, and good luck with your future office endeavors!