The Housewife

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Here is the House to hold me -- cradle of all the race;Here is my lord and my love, here are my children dear --Here is the House enclosing, the dear-loved dwelling place;Why should I ever weary for aught that I find not here?

Here for the hours of the day and the hours of the night;Bound with the bands of Duty, rivetted tight;Duty older than Adam -- Duty that sawAcceptance utter and hopeless in the eyes of the serving squaw.

Food and the serving of food -- that is my daylong care;What and when we shall eat, what and how we shall wear;Soiling and cleaning of things -- that is my task in the main --Soil them and clean them and soil them -- soil them and clean them again.

To work at my trade by the dozen and never a trade to know;To plan like a Chinese puzzle -- fitting and changing so;To think of a thousand details, each in a thousand ways;For my own immediate people and a possible love and praise.

My mind is trodden in circles, tiresome, narrow and hard,Useful, commonplace, private -- simply a small back-yard;And I the Mother of Nations! -- Blind their struggle and vain! --I cover the earth with my children -- each with a housewife's brain.

© Gilman Charlotte Anna Perkins