On a Friday

By Robin

September 3, 2010


Category: By Amy


Growing up I often read the poem Song for a Fifth Child by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton. A cross-stitched version hung on the wall at my best friend’s house and, as a child, I thought it was terribly depressing and sad (sorry Laurene!). However, in the last few weeks the final line of the poem has been often in my mind. Having survived the first week of school this is exactly what I want for the the upcoming three-day weekend.*

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo.

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

*We aren’t observing Labor Day. Monday is the presidential inauguration in Rwanda.


2 Responses to “On a Friday”

  1. I love that last stanza. I think you were given a pink cross-stitched version when you were a baby.

  2. I recalled this often too when the boys were little! There was a copy of a similar version in Kev and Bren’s room where we had c-teams, and it helped me remember what I was doing and why!

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