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Poem of the week: The Housewife by Charlotte Perkins Gilman


At the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act that paved the way for universal suffrage, this ringing, turn-of-the-century denunciation of domestic servitude has not lost its bite

The Housewife
Here is the House to hold me – cradle of all the race;
Here is my lord and my love, here are my children dear–
Here is the House enclosing, the dear-loved dwelling place;
Why should I ever weary for aught that I find not here?

Here for the hours of the day and the hours of the night;
Bound with the bands of Duty, rivetted tight;
Duty older than Adam – Duty that saw
Acceptance utter and hopeless in the eyes of the serving squaw.

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