Dust If You Must, A Poem by Rose Milligan.

Dust If You Must

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, and 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.

By Rose Milligan



Dust If You Must is my favourite poem.

It was introduced to me by my grandma many years ago. In my youthful naivety, I thought the poem was about cleaning!….. I was so busy trying to be a good wife, mum, daughter, employee as well as a domestic goddess, that the time passed in a flash.

Now I don’t care if I can’t see my face in the oven door or there is dust underneath the bed. I do what needs to be done and no more. It took a long time to understand the significance of the poem but, finally, now I get it!

Sadly, my grandmother is no longer around. If she was here today I would thank her for introducing me to this inspiring poem and for her wisdom. I read it often when the pressures of day to day life get on top of me.

I have also given a copy of the poem to my daughter and made sure that she understands the meaning!

The greatest gift we have is the gift of time…don’t waste it!

Thank you for reading.

  11 comments for “Dust If You Must, A Poem by Rose Milligan.

  1. 20th June 2017 at 3:27 pm

    This is awesome! Your grandmother was a wise woman!

  2. 20th June 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Reblogged this on Penny Lane's Thoughts and commented:
    Wise words!

  3. 22nd June 2017 at 1:33 am

    I would love to put this on a wall in my house so I could pass by it everyday. And remind myself to keep what’s important…really important, at the top of my list.

    • 22nd June 2017 at 10:57 am

      I know, its easy to forget how precious our time is.

  4. 23rd June 2017 at 5:41 pm

    They say the happiest of homes, are a bit dusty!!! Love your blog!!!

  5. 29th June 2017 at 6:24 am

    This is such a wonderful poem. There were times in my life when I thought having a perfectly clean home was the most important thing. Then, thank goodness, my sons’ lives took over. I started doing things that didn’t involve dusting every day because I was busy with them. And I am forever thankful for that.

  6. 26th September 2018 at 3:29 am

    this is so true! it’s a great message about doing what’s truly important <3

    • waggytalesdogblog
      26th September 2018 at 1:58 pm

      I agree, it’s my favourite poem x

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