By Edith Nesbit
WHEN I am busying about,
Sewing on buttons, tapes, and strings,
Hanging the week’s wet washing out
Or ironing the children’s things,
Sweeping and dusting, cleaning grates,
Scrubbing the dresser or the floors,
Washing the greasy dinner plates,
Scouring the brasses on the doors–
I wonder what it’s all about,
And when did people first begin
To keep the dirt and wornness out
And keep the wholesome comfort in:
How long it is since women bore
This round of wash and make and mend,
And what God makes us do it for
And whether it will ever end!
When God began to do His work
He made a new thing every day–
Even now He is not one to shirk,
But makes things, always some new way
He made the earth, and sky, and sun,
The creatures of the sea and wood,
And when his first week’s work was done
He saw that it was very good.
But He–for all He worked so fast
To finish air, and wave, and shore,
Knew that this work of His would last
For ever and for evermore.
On Saturday night He was content,
He knew that Monday would not bring
Need for another firmament,
Another set of everything.
But though my work is easier far
Than making sky and sea and sun,
It’s harder than God’s labours are,
Because my work is never done.
I sweep and churn, save and contrive,
I bake and brew, I don’t complain,
But every Monday morning I’ve
Last Monday’s work to do again.
I’m good at work–I work away;
Always the same my work must go;
The flowers grow different every day,
That’s why I like to see them grow.
If, up in Heaven, God understood
He’d let me for my Paradise
Make all things new and very good
And never make the same thing twice!