(Poem #833) Washing the Dishes
When we on simple rations sup How easy is the washing up! But heavy feeding complicates The task by soiling many plates. And though I grant that I have prayed That we might find a serving-maid, I'd scullion all my days I think, To see Her smile across the sink! I wash, she wipes. In water hot I souse each pan and dish and pot; While Taffy mutters, purrs, and begs, And rubs himself against my legs. The man who never in his life Has washed the dishes with his wife Or polished up the silver plate-- He still is largely celibate. One warning: there is certain ware That must be handled with all care: The Lord Himself will give you up If you should drop a willow cup!
Notes: From Chimneysmoke (1921) souse (v): soak, immerse, steep A charming little poem, presenting an unexpected perspective on domestic bliss. The poet's thesis is neatly summed up in the penultimate verse: The man who never in his life Has washed the dishes with his wife Or polished up the silver plate-- He still is largely celibate. The last verse is merely an anticlimax, bringing the poem to a gentle conclusion - the main impact, despite the distraction of a final punchline, is definitely in the verse before. Links: There's an accompanying illustration - see [broken link] http://geocities.com/~spanoudi/poems/morley01.html#12 We've run one Morley poem, complete with biography (and don't miss Sunil Iyengar's comment at the end): poem #553 -martin