Domestic Work, 1937 Poem by Natasha Trethewey

Domestic Work, 1937

Rating: 3.5

All week she's cleaned
someone else's house,
stared down her own face
in the shine of copper--
bottomed pots, polished
wood, toilets she'd pull
the lid to--that look saying

Let's make a change, girl.

But Sunday mornings are hers--
church clothes starched
and hanging, a record spinning
on the console, the whole house
dancing. She raises the shades,
washes the rooms in light,
buckets of water, Octagon soap.

Cleanliness is next to godliness ...

Windows and doors flung wide,
curtains two-stepping
forward and back, neck bones
bumping in the pot, a choir
of clothes clapping on the line.

Nearer my God to Thee ...

She beats time on the rugs,
blows dust from the broom
like dandelion spores, each one
a wish for something better.

Wahab Abdul 24 May 2013

heart felt poem.. love it... top marks..

3 1 Reply
Scotty Pax 16 December 2012

Billy Collins Mime. Billy Collins mimicked the institutional; suburban. Where there is a lack of waste. Where the real has been washed down the drain. The hypereal art is drawn out in lackadaisical observation as an accepted mineralization of brain rust. The suburban landscape... go back to your Eisenhower 50s. Find the new symbolism to cure our psychosomatic lethargy, eh?

1 0 Reply
Margaret O Driscoll 24 February 2016

I can just picture the woman from this piece!

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Dr Antony Theodore 30 April 2019

But Sunday mornings are hers- church clothes starched and hanging, a record spinning on the console, the whole house dancing. limited options for the african americans... expressed well. the slave life. tony

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Edward Kofi Louis 03 March 2017

Her own face! ! Thanks for sharing.

1 0 Reply
Barry Middleton 03 March 2017

A great poem by the laureate which brings back memories of my own childhood and the limited options for African Americans of the old south.

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Tom Allport 03 March 2017

a well written poem of a persons weekly routine? showing how they took pride in what they did!

1 0 Reply
Lisa Marie Mottert 03 March 2016

Very moving think of appreciation for life. Good work on this poem.

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