The Housewife

By Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman

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 saw 

Acceptance 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. 

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