13 August 2009

Poetry Corner

I very rarely post poetry, I've done it once maybe twice, partly because I automatically skim when I see verses in blog posts, novels and newspapers so I assume everyone else does the same. Partly because it is often abusing someone else's copy write and also I feel it's lazy blogging to use someone else's words to try to state how you feel. Using song lyrics is lazy juvenile emo blogging but that's a rant of a different meter. Having said all that I'm about to indulge in some sentimental poetry (or possibly doggerel) blogging by posting this.

Song For A Fifth Child

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
(Lullaby, rockabye, lullaby loo.)
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peek-a-boo
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby lullaby loo.)

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

- Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Apparently the poem first appeared in the Lady's Home Journal in 1958. I can find out nothing about Ruth Hulbert Hamilton on the interwebs as almost every link to her name goes to a born again mommy blog. Disclosure time I first saw this on such a blog but I'm not going to link back as I don't want to give the poor woman the vapours.

This poem struck me as I have found myself fretting and feeling guilty about housework not getting done because I'm playing/soothing/feeding/cleaning/staring at Tom. There is a huge irony in this as I loathe housework and before he was born would have to force myself to chase the dust bunnies around the room and I hadn't ironed a thing in at least 8 years. Last week I found myself ironing some of Tom's miniature jeans as they looked "all wrong" crumpled.

I'm beginning to think I have been replaced by aliens - this is not me, I don't think like this and I'm more than slightly disturbed by it all. I was inordinately excited at getting a new slow cooker on the weekend, next thing I'll be doing will be wearing a pinny unironically. I think I need to order the Second Sex before it's too late for me.


  1. If it is any consolation you finally revert back to not ironing unless you have to and sighing at the dust but not quite dealing with it straightaway. Er well I did in my case. I was the same - rather houseworkshy then had a baby and became a cleaning surface/cleaning baby/cleaning clothes fascist. It didn't last. Yours ashamedly but ever so slightly relieved, Rockmother.

  2. My mom used to have the last stanza of that poem cross-stitched and framed on my bedroom wall. :)

    I spent much of my life not wanting to get married at all, and in about one year I met someone, married and moved to another country, where I am basically playing at being Martha Stewart. It's bizarre. But hey, man, slow cookers rule.

  3. I want a slowcooker.

    That is all.

  4. At the risk of causing YOU vapours, I placed a link to your blog on mine. I was writing about may failure to "multitask" as a mother.

    It's kind of comforting to see this was a problem way back in the '30's - long before that dreaded term was coined.