An Orderly Woman

An Orderly Woman


Every week was planned

with every day given an allotted task

She was indeed a creature of habit

always dressed according to the job in hand

Mondays were spent enwrapped

amongst sheets, dresses and underwear

Soap powder, dolly blue and the Burco boiler

and soon the garden lines became like bunting

Tuesdays she stood before the ironing board

surrounded by coat hangers and moth balls

Wednesdays her attention was given to the

bedrooms and bathroom upstairs

Thursdays the sitting room and dinning room

Fridays were devoted to windows and mirrors

The house held its own particular odour

long before the days of air fresheners

An odour without a scent but a warm welcome

a place of tranquility, rest and comfort


She took pride in all that she did

with her personal appearance to the fore

Before leaving the house there was a ritual

in front of the dressing table where hair and make up

were carefully arranged so as to pass inspection

She was an orderly woman 

taciturn yet eloquent when required

There was a constant sense of decency

with routines performed like religious rites

Few guests were entertained

as she led a private if not secluded life

There was an independent spirit

which had to be discovered

Never arrogant or rude, always polite

and a stickler for good etiquette and manners

Every item of furniture, ornaments and fittings

spoke of her character, of who she was

and to some extent aspired to be


There had been five children, one killed at Dunkirk

the rest married and scattered afar

Then with the onsett of old age she relinquished her home

for sheltered accommodation

Retaining a few cherished items of sentimental value

she died alone in her favourite armchair

◄ A Royal Box

Three Score Years & Ten ►


Profile image

keith jeffries

Mon 19th Feb 2018 09:39

Hi John,
Thanks for you comment. Much appreciated as always.

Profile image


Sun 18th Feb 2018 22:29

Hi Keith
A beautiful tribute to your Grandmother. Me Mum and Dad had a similar way of cleaning etc. Tuesdays for this room, Wednesdays for the washing and drying.

It's such a realistic and touching portrait ( esp the last stanza), that I felt as if I was walking with this wonderful lady through her routines and her life.
Beautiful mate


Profile image

keith jeffries

Sun 4th Feb 2018 10:11

thank you for such a kind comment. The lady in question was my grandmother. I loved her dearly. Keith

Profile image

Hannah Collins

Sat 3rd Feb 2018 23:02

She sounds like an amazing woman.
Exquisite writing.


Profile image

keith jeffries

Thu 1st Feb 2018 10:04

Hello Colin,
Your perspicacity does you immense credit. The woman was my paternal grandmother who I loved greatly. Up until the age of 11 years I spent all my summer holidays with her. She had been married but it fell apart for many reasons. Some of the women her sons married were jealous of her for a variety of different reasons. She was a lady who coped and coped well; resilient and with a positive attitude to life. If she was ever unhappy she never displayed it. I often think of her. Thank you for your interesting comment. Keith

<Deleted User> (13762)

Thu 1st Feb 2018 08:12

An intimate study of this woman's life Keith. One senses that, in some ways, she did not die unhappy, that everything was in order, just the way she would have wanted it to be. And what better place to pass away than in one's own favourite armchair.

But I can't help but think there is something amiss here as there is no mention of her husband? And guests were few and far between, her surviving children also 'scattered afar'. Perhaps, after all, she was lonely and her loneliness manifested itself through her strict routine. But even loneliness should not always be equated with unhappiness. Some people are better equipped at dealing with it than others. 'Orderly' is such a fitting word in all of its connotations.

The more I think about this poem the more intriguing I find it, for the things left unspoken. Thanks for posting.

All the best,

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message