Raised On Rust

I was raised on rust
In a steel belt town,
Where hundreds worked the lines
In factories from dawn to dusk
Waiting for Friday checks
And the weekend.

I was raised on rust.
Daddy was a beer-drinkin’ man
With arms of granite,
Chiseled from the cement he poured.
Calloused hands cracked and hewn,
Blue collar stained by honest sweat.
Mama was General Patton,
Keeping us kids in line.
Her worn hands pulled wet wash from the tub,
Hung it out on the line to dry.
She was the compass in our storm.
I was raised on rust,
On rules you didn’t break.
Do your chores before you play,
Say your prayers before you sleep,
And don’t forget
Please and Thank You.

I was raised on rust,
In a steel-belt town,
By a hard-drinkin’ man
And a woman of the Great Depression.
I’m tough as tempered steel.


About the Poet:  Karen Vail is a retired English teacher.  She spent 39 years sharing her love of the written word with her students, and now she continues this love by writing poetry.  Her poems have been published in Paw Prints in Verse: Poems About Pets, and Poetry Breakfast, and online poetry journal.  She lives with her husband in Flemington, New Jersey.


Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round.  See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.

Start your morning with a nourishing poem.  Follow us on  Twitter, Facebook, and  Tumblr,  and enjoy a new poem every morning straight to your feed.