Poetry Friday: Laundry


I do the laundry in our house. Not very well and not very gracefully. I am a grouchy laundry troll. This poem makes me consider the hidden beauty of clean clothes and starting off fresh each day.

by Ruth Moose

All our life
so much laundry;
each day’s doing or not
comes clean,
flows off and away
to blend with other sins
of this world. Each day
begins in new skin,
blessed by the elements
charged to take us
out again to do or undo
what’s been assigned.
From socks to shirts
the selves we shed
lift off the line
as if they own
a life apart
from the one we offer.
There is joy in clean laundry.
All is forgiven in water, sun
and air. We offer our day’s deeds
to the blue-eyed sky, with soap and prayer,
our arms up, then lowered in supplication.

Gorgeous. I cannot resist a poem about an ordinary thing, seen anew. I discovered this poem at Poetry Foundation. I want to find more Ruth Moose poems now (but I still don’t much feel like dealing with that laundry mountain…).

(Lovely laundry picture by clarity).

7 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Laundry

  1. cora

    Oh, my. I just posted my submission and then I came here. It’s humbling to see a published poet’s take on the beauty of the ordinary. I wrote on this same theme for NaPoWriMo.

  2. Laura Shovan

    Laundry — bah! I am a fellow laundry troll. Loved the poem, especially “the selves we shed/lift off the line.” Have you read Julia Alvarez’ wonderful series of “chore” poems? They’re in her book, Homecoming.

  3. shelfelf Post author

    Laura – I haven’t read Julia Alvarez’s “chore” poems. I will definitely take a look! Thanks!

  4. Little Willow

    It would be lovely if the person whose laundry is currently occupying the washer _and_ the dryer would reclaim them so I could do my laundry . . .

  5. Andromeda Jazmon

    I love doing laundry for exactly the reasons in this poem. I just hate the times when I get behind and feel rushed in running up and down the cellar stairs because someone needs my attention at the same time… but I love the feeling when everything in the house is clean and put away. And I love knowing my boys have a closet full of fresh good clothes…

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