Washing Up

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One of the few things I remember from school is ‘The Order of Washing Up’:

Glasses first, clean and bright
knives and forks come next
plates follow on until they’re done
the saucepans finally too
I’ve washed up many times and yet
the order still comes through

Washing up is not a chore
it’s a time to stand and think
of soap and suds and water
and all things in my sink

I hope my pile of washing up
is there for me each day
I never dry, just let it drain
and then I put it all away.

January 2020

2 thoughts on “Washing Up”

  1. Hi Maggie Really like this and it reminds me of a poem I wrote some years ago. I don’t write many so could you see if you like this one and I can send you another – that I think might resonate with you, This one is light hearted and I read it at my Dad’s funeral

    Dishcloth regime at Dad’s

    An army of all-purpose yellow dishcloths

    Have hidden agendas in Dad’s regime.

    Should this one be dry for the pans

    Or will it be wet for wiping?

    Should that one hang on the bowl

    Or will it be draped on the door?

    Should I dare to smell or inspect it

    Or is that way above my station?

    Only Dad will say if it is ready for demotion

    Or perfectly fit for present purpose.

    Disturb the agenda at your peril,

    Don’t risk the bloodiness of dishcloth war!

    SMD 17th January 2010

    Sue x


  2. Hi Sue, that’s a great poem. It must have taken a lot to read it out at your dad’s funeral. I’m particularly interested in the ways in which seemingly ‘everyday’ tasks can have more complex associations on a wider sphere. So, for me, washing up isn’t just about doing the dishes, it’s also about ‘washing up’ in other aspects of life. Does that make any sense? Would love to see your other poem too. Thank you! X


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