One Deep Breath-Ceremony and Ritual

When I was a child, my mother and grandmother had a weekly ritual for completing all their domestic tasks. My mother used to recite a little poem that explained the basis for much of their work pattern: Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Bake on Wednesday, Shop on Thursday, Sweep on Friday, Mend on Saturday, Rest on Sunday, and on Monday, start all over again!

There is actual historical basis for this rhyme, which goes like this:
Apparently the women of the Mayflower came ashore on Monday, November 13, 1620 (two days after the men). The first thing they did was wash clothing made filthy from sixty-eight days at sea (yech!). This established an orderly ritual reflected by the following rhyme:
Wash on Monday,Iron on Tuesday,Bake on Wednesday,Brew on Thursday,Churn on Friday,Mend on Saturday,Go to meeting on Sunday. Weren’t those Puritan’s organized?
I notice that my family’s version was a little different, probably because we didn’t brew, churn, or “go to meeting!” But, I’m surprised at how much of this ritual I’ve retained in my housekeeping practices (which are definitely not up to my mother’s standards, let alone the Puritans)! So today when I was loading my washing machine, I started composing some haiku around these homemaking rituals.

Monday’s wash
line dries in the sun -
wind whipped freshness


Crisp white linen
button-down collars,cuffs linked with gold
elegant man

Sweet fragrant aroma
spices the air with love -
appetites aroused!

Market day riches
fruits, veggies galore
shopping cart brimful of bounty

Stiff whiskered broom
dusty corners swept clean
secret cobwebs disappear

Clothes torn and tattered
beg stitches to mend
nimble fingers deftly fly

Rocking chair waits
Drowsy sleeper lulled gently
into her day of rest


For more haiku, go here

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12 thoughts on “One Deep Breath-Ceremony and Ritual

  1. Becca, you never cease to amaze me! These are SO cool, they should be embroidered or cross-stitched and passed on from generation to generation!

  2. Thanks, Susan! The scary thing is that (except for the mending) I actually did a little of all that stuff today! Welcome to the fast paced 21st Century! Now, I’m off to the rocking chair…

  3. These poems are just beautiful. Life is anchored by ceremony and ritual, the breathing in and out and in again that fills our days. I could smell that fresh laundry just in from the clothesline.

  4. Becca, these are wonderful! I love how the rituals of house-keeping inspired such beautiful Haiku. And the thing I miss most about the US is being able to take freshly-laundered clothes out of the dryer and them needing only light ironing, if any. Here you could spend hours every day ironing (but I don’t). Beautiful post.

  5. These are fantastic! You’ve turned everyday chores into poetry. It makes me wish I had more time to write; there is so much around us for inspiration.

    You’re the bright spot in my night of insomnia.

  6. I love how creative you are! My creativity stops when it comes to housework and I admire how you’ve turned a daunting chore into sheer poetry.

  7. I’m afraid my family would complain dreadfully if I only washed once a week. All these labour saving devices just seem to mean higher standards.
    The haiku are lovely though.

  8. I’m still not sure having read your next post, how you managed to come up with ALL these today considering how busy you were?!
    The last one is very fitting of course. I’m sure you needed that chair after all this exertion.

    Lovely haikus. Must go-just noticed the many cobwebs…:)

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