To combat the nocturnal river that stung her eyes,
She would shut out her present reality and fantasise,
Drifting off to the enchanting lights of New York under purple skies,
All the Manhattan magic would be blurry and distant come sunrise…
A young bright-eyed Kate had sought work as a maid,
And soon found herself serving an English pair who fancied the odd tirade,
But those beneath their standing in their manor were not worthy of an accolade,
As time inched by, the vigour and glint in her eyes had begun to fade.
They were the two most callous people she had ever met,
Albert, a sucker for punishment; Alice, a stickler for etiquette,
And if she did not perfect her posture, she’d be issued with a threat,
They pulled her strings every which way as if she were a marionette.
From when the owls began to hoot till the dawning of the sun,
Kate found the glares and words of the previous day impossible to shun,
“Your hairstyle is a disgrace and your colour is clearly overdone”,
It was as if Alice awoke each day, chanting “This maid was made for fun!”
And when her puffiness reasoned that she couldn’t run the household any faster,
Albert threw his burnt tie in her face, yelling “I knew you were a disaster!”
But he raged forth with the iron before she could mumble a rueful answer,
Her dainty hand was no match for his wicked heart of alabaster.
The next day, Kate’s silent pleas were interrupted by a shrill caterwauling,
Over wilting petunias, Alice shrieked, “Why is your work always so appalling?”
And pointing at the hot press leak, Albert jeered, “The pipes, the pipes are calling!”
So overwhelmed with taunts and demands, she felt like the sky was falling.
As she struggled to stay afloat in this violent, bitter sea,
She found an anchor to keep her calm in the storm of misery.
As she scoured the hot press for pipes with diminishing energy,
A newspaper image floated towards her of the Statue of Liberty.
This inspirational goddess stands strong with broken chains at her feet,
Her torch lights up Manhattan with the hope of freedom for those in need,
Kate’s nature was just right for the flourish of Libertas’ enlightening seed,
Kate could no longer bear to be the carpet for the vibrant snob stampede.
Now she had a choice between the predictable path and risky road to make,
Should she keep her head down and obey orders or put everything at stake?
“This is too much to ask of a maid”, she uttered, her voice inclined to shake,
Accepting her defiance, they vowed to hire a plumber for their manor’s sake.
That night, Kate dreamed she would flee the pipes and escape to New York at just the right time,
Dreams of roaming Fifth Avenue, of feeling awestruck under the starry skyline,
Stars and stripes twinkled in her eyes, American dreams glistened in the pipeline,
The newspaper cutting of Libertas served as both her pillow and her lifeline.
But once again come sunrise, Kate was stuck playing a game she seemed destined to lose,
As she tripped down the stairs, knocking over Alice and blowing her fuse,
“You futile silly Cinderella! This conduct from dreamland I will not excuse!”
Kate tearfully examined the deep stains of her sentence: last month’s burn and today’s bruise.
Just a ‘skivvy for all her days of living’, dreaming the American pipe dream,
No more peachy freedom, no Big Apple, no strawberries nor cream,
She’d just been a tired, restless girl lost in dreams of The City That Never Sleeps,
Yet she knew she wouldn’t stay stranded forever, now that her mountain was not as steep.