Updated on August 5, 2017
Happy Friday! As we head into another weekend, tell me: Are you happy with your home? Is it clean, cozy, and inviting? Is it spotless?
I love a clean home, and I could spend hours cleaning my house – making things “perfect” in case someone visits. But you know what? People don’t care whether my home shines or not, as long as they feel welcome.
A sweet poem is circulating online. An invitation to stop cleaning, at least for now, and do something else instead. Sound good? Then take a moment to read some poetry, and let it inspire your day.
Dust if You Must: A Poem
“Dust if You Must” is a poem by Rose Milligan. As you read her words, think of ways to find balance in your days – a happy balance between housework and home life. Then share your ideas in the comments.
And now for the poem:
“Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
To paint a picture or write a letter,
Bake a cake or plant a seed,
Ponder the difference between want and need?
“Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.
“Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come around again.
“Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go – and go you must –
You, yourself, will make more dust.”
The Poet and The Lady
Many blogs and other social media sites quote “Dust if You Must” as inspirational poetry. Some sites credit the poem to Anonymous or Unknown Author. Others, like this Tumblr blog, cite Milligan as the poet.
There is little information about Milligan online. From my brief research, I learned she is from Lancashire, a maritime county in North West England. The county town of Lancaster lies on the banks of the River Lune.
Her poem appeared in the 21st edition of The Lady, a London-based publication “for elegant women with elegant minds.” That was September 15, 1998.
The Lady has been in continuous circulation since 1885. Quoting the publisher, it is “widely respected as England’s longest running weekly magazine for women.”
The magazine is notable for its classified advertisements for child care and domestic services. It also has extensive listings for holiday properties.
Every issue contains commentary, reviews, fashion news, food ideas, gardening tips, and more. The magazine publishes select content online for free.
Interested in a subscription? Amazon sells the Kindle edition for your digital e-reader, PC, phone, or tablet. If you buy now, you’ll save 49% off the cover price. And the first 30 days are FREE.
Closing Thoughts: Must You Dust?
If you have followed my blog for a while, you know that savoring home involves making a home. But it’s not about keeping it spotless. Housework plays a part, but it’s only a part.
Savoring home is really about loving your home – the people, the place, and the everyday life you’re called to. There is beauty in your daily world, but you have to slow down to see it.
Is housework on your agenda today? Scrubbing, mopping, vacuuming, dusting? Dust if you must, but remember: The world’s “out there.” Make time to explore it.
Read a book, call a friend, walk in the sunshine, or tour a museum. Take a trip to a faraway place, if only in your imagination. Life is short, so make the most of your moments.
The dusting can wait.
Credits and References
Now It’s Your Turn
Thank you for reading this article. Now it’s YOUR turn to chime in. How much time do you spend cleaning and dusting your home? What could you be doing instead?
I would love to hear of the beauty in your daily world. Let’s fill the comments with friendly conversation. Scroll down a bit to leave a reply, ask a question, or just say hello.
And if you liked this article, please give it a share.