When I work too hard and then lie down,
even my sleep is sad and all worn out.
You want me to name the specific sorrows?
They do not matter. You have your own.
Most of the people in the world
go out to work, day after day,
with their voices chained in their throats.
I am swimming a narrow, swift river.
Upstream, the clouds have already darkened
and deep blue holes I cannot see
churn up under the smooth flat rocks.
The Greeks have a word, paropono,
for the complaint without answer,
for how the heart labors, while
all the time our faces appear calm
enough to float through in the moonlight.
The poem "heart Labor" is written by Maggie Anderson. This poem is taken from Maggie Anderson's collection of poems "WINDFALL: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS"
This poem about the importance of a mother’s work in the home and the lack of appreciation. Hard work can lead to tiredness and sorrow even when one has found their true calling. In fact, a true devotion to a calling would often cycle through the feelings that are depicted by the speaker in the poem.
In this poem the mother is the speaker. She says, when i sleep and take rest, even at that time i don't feel good. Even my sleep is sad and old, i don't feel relaxed. The speaker in the poem is carrying on her conversation with someone and is sharing her pains and sorrows. The person whom she is talking to wants to hear her all sorrows but she refuses because she is concerned about the person she is talking to. And says that sadness doesn't matter to you because you have your own. She then questions that why aren't people expressing what they feel? why are they working so hard without even complaining anything.
After that she says that she is swimming a narrow river and up the clouds are dark and its going to rain heavy. Here she means that she is covered with sadness and she can't take it anymore because it is going beyond her limit. Then she says that the clouds are so dark that she cannot see the blue sky, meaning she can’t see happiness in her life at all.
Later on she expresses that she is being churned up smoothly. She says that in Greek there's a word called ‘paropono’ which means no answer for a complaint and also for the heart’s labor. They don't know our pain because our calm means we don't show and express our pain and is enough to float into moonlight. By all this she is trying to say, don't feel choked by life choices and heart labors in her everyday routine and search for a more meaningful purpose in your life.