Natasha Trethewey

Domestic Work, 1937 - Poem by Natasha Trethewey

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.

Comments about Domestic Work, 1937 by Natasha Trethewey

  • Edward Kofi Louis (3/3/2017 1:54:00 PM)

    Her own face! ! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Barry Middleton (3/3/2017 11:35:00 AM)

    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. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (3/3/2017 3:30:00 AM)

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

  • Robert Murray Smith (3/3/2017 1:01:00 AM)

    A black, and white portrait of the tme. Image filled, coffe not spilt.+++10

    (Report) Reply

  • (3/3/2016 10:32:00 AM)

    Very moving think of appreciation for life. Good work on this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Margaret O Driscoll (2/24/2016 2:33:00 PM)

    I can just picture the woman from this piece! (Report) Reply

  • Wahab Abdul (5/24/2013 1:26:00 AM)

    heart felt poem.. love it... top marks.. (Report) Reply

  • (12/16/2012 6:11:00 PM)

    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? (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: house, girl, change, water, work, light, god, time, dance

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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