Clean Clara

By William Brighty Rands

What! not know our Clean Clara?
Why, the hot folks in the Sahara
And the cold Esquimaux,
Our little Clara know!
Clean Clara, the poet sings,
Cleaned a hundred, thousand things!

She cleaned the keys of the harpsichord,
She cleaned the hilt of the family sword,
She cleaned my lady, she cleaned my lord;
All the pictures in their frames,
Knights with daggers and stomachered dames -
Cecils, Godfreys, Montforts, Graemes,
Winifreds - all those nice old names!

She cleaned the works of the eight-day clock,
She cleaned the spring of a secret lock,
She cleaned the mirror, she cleaned the cupboard;
All the books she India-rubbered!

She cleaned the Dutch tiles in the place,
She cleaned some very old-fashioned lace;
The Countess of Miniver came to her,
“Pray, my dear, will you clean my fur?”
All her cleanings are admirable;

To count your teeth you will be able,
If you look in the walnut table!

She cleaned the tent-stitch and the sampler;
She cleaned the tapestry which was ampler;
Joseph going down into the pit,
And the Shunamite woman with the boy in a fit;

You saw the reapers, not in the distance,
And Elisha coming to the child’s assistance,
With the house on the wall that was built for the prophet,
The chair, the bed, and the bolster of it;

The eyebrows all had a twirl reflective,
Just like an eel; to spare invective,
There was plenty of colour, but no perspective.
However, Clara cleaned it all,
With a curious lamp, that hangs in the hall!
She cleaned the drops of the chandeliers, -
Madame in mittens was moved to tears!

She cleaned the cage of the cockatoo,
The oldest bird that ever grew;
I should say a thousand years old would do -
I’m sure he looked it, but nobody knew;
She cleaned the china, she cleaned the delf,
She cleaned the baby, she cleaned herself!

Tomorrow morning she means to try
To clean the cobwebs from the sky.
Some people say the girl will rue it,
But my belief is she will do it.

So I’ve made up my mind to be there to see:
There’s a beautiful place in the walnut tree;
The bough is as firm as the solid rock.
She brings out her broom at six o’clock.


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