poem: The Forgotten Art of Bathing in Basins

poem: The Forgotten Art of Bathing in Basins

A Chapter by Marie Anzalone

Start the fire, first, and wait for the smoke to clear.

   A cast itron old Dutch oven is the perfect size-

fill it from the tub or rain barrel,

   and let it warm on the stove top.

 

Collect your things.

  Hemp shampoo is best, as it lathers less than others

and take the lightweight conditioner,

       not the heavier one

as you can add more conditioner later.

  Soap, face wash, washcloth;

       basin, pitcher, floor mat, big soft towel.

And a candle for more light than the heater gives.

 

By the time you're done collecting, the water is hot

    pour it into your basin, and cut it (1 gallon)

with 1 gallon of cold

   Move the heater to the floor

next to the table with the basin,

    and start another gallon warming.

 

Move deliberately, quickly-

    dunk your head, and then lather.

while the water is still clear, then,

      wash your face, and soap the rag to get the rest

soap your body, staying close the fire

[changing sides if necessary if you become too hot]

   and when done, duck down and use the pitcher,

and rinse your hair, being careful

    to get all the suds out,

and to not get a cramp.

 

Empty the basin in the toilet.

 

Refill with the water warming in the Dutch oven

   Condition your hair while it is still wet

and now use the clean warm water to rinse your body

     paying special attention to problem zones-

pits, crotch, breasts, etc.

   be sure to scrub your arms, feet, back.

 

Empty again. Refill with cold water.

 Now drape the towel on your neck,

and use the pitcher one last time

      to rinse the conditioner from your hair.

stay by the fire while you dry

      and dress in something warm and forgiving.

 

All four gallons of water could be saved as fertilizer, too.

 

 

 

 

 




© 2012 Marie Anzalone



Author's Note

Marie Anzalone
We recently had a 6-day power outage here in New England, where we survived the cold by running a kerosene heater, and lived off water stored in the bathtub. It is amazing, really, how little water you actually need to survive. Bathing like this becomes an alm ost meditative practice.

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Featured Review

Marie, Power outages I know all too well, sigh. I love this creative "how to" bathe in basin lyrical manual (not that I would follow it- I prefer blanket, chocolate, and wine- by the time I awoke the power would be on or I would not have survived.) Clever clever clever!

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Marie, Power outages I know all too well, sigh. I love this creative "how to" bathe in basin lyrical manual (not that I would follow it- I prefer blanket, chocolate, and wine- by the time I awoke the power would be on or I would not have survived.) Clever clever clever!

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

resourceful as ever, mah dear...even so much so as to make it written work of art

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I thought you were kidding.
On second thought, back on the
ranch, that was how we got ready
for the dance at the schopl house
on Saturday night .
Great !
----- John

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

this is great i am of course from new england as well i filled the tub but like passover we didnt lose our electricity
the poem brings one close to what it means to be human i felt like i could touch and feel what it was like

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

deliberate, intentional, mindful. we have lost the art (indeed) of practicing meditation in the ordinary.
not that it doesn't have its drawbacks, but every time there's a power outage, i get this huge twinge of loss when the power comes back on.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

...then, all clean and comfy, proceed to work up a sweat mopping the kitchen floor! Glad to hear that your period of discomfiture has ended, for all the hidden benefits you rediscovered.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

you make it meditative ...a total mind and body experience.. ty

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Brilliant!

Reminds me of days camping in the nowhere, when water was three quarters of a mile away and money was pocket money and we all ate too much too soon and and .. but we're here for your writing, not my memories.

Love the way you set it all out because time can't be wasted either, everything has a reason, everything needs to work in tune after and before. And yes, things work if you think in advance, no panic, not worry, just do your best, cope, smile - minds and hours were filled with common sense in the distant past, people managed .. we have far too much these days and bills to prove it.

Great post, my dear friend, as worthy as any you've written over the years because it is what it is, natural, economical and, in its own special way, beautiful.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

doing without is almost a lost art . . . I find it makes me appreciate what we are blessed with

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

it wont be long now, we'll be back to it, and be lucky for that

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on November 5, 2011
Last Updated on August 23, 2012

A Pilgrimage in Epistles: Poems as Letters and Observations


Author

Marie Anzalone
Marie Anzalone

Xela, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala



About
Bilingual poet, essayist, novelist, and technical writer working in Central America. "A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, .. more..

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