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Antidote

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 17, 2013

Antidote

By Catherine E. Berry

My house has never been so clean,
My floors so shiny bright,
Each shelf and cabinet primly neat,
No clutter left in sight.

This is no sudden urge to be
Domestic on my part,
But just a woman’s way to numb
The pain within her heart.

(1955)



6 Comments »

  1. Ouch! Where was this published? Protofeminism in the RS Magazine!

    Comment by kevinf — January 17, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

  2. Maybe, kevinf, or maybe a recognition that women often turn (or did turn, when the home was a woman’s only real sphere) to the physical activity of housecleaning in order to deal with emotional turmoil. I know I do.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 17, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

  3. Housecleaning is a great stress relief for some people. This goes to show that you can’t assume that life is going well just because her house is spotless. (For some, the first thing that goes in hard times is the cleaning.)

    Comment by Carol — January 17, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

  4. Such truth in poetry. I only wish I could turn my angst into good housekeeping, but perhaps it’s not good to have too much of that fuel.

    Comment by MDearest — January 17, 2013 @ 11:01 pm

  5. Heck, you could replace “woman’s” with “man’s” in the second to last line and it would still be accurate for many people. I know I use cleaning as stress relief.

    Although the line “no sudden urge to be domestic” is interesting in a poem from the 1950s.

    Comment by Doug Hudson — January 18, 2013 @ 9:02 am

  6. When your world “turns upside down”, the work and focus on creating physical order in your home can be very emotionally/spiritually grounding. The old adage “do what you CAN do” is positive action for me, and it has carried me through some tough places. It expanded to gardening and I discovered peace in the presence of order, confidence in the beauty and serenity I could create. Personal revelation comes so sweetly and clearly when a “sanctuary” is prepared.

    Comment by old convert sister — January 18, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

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