Sunday, March 15, 2009


As I was young and easy in the summer time
I’d be compelled with threats as well as pleas
To help as mother hung out laundry on the line.
There make the sheets swing brightly in the breeze.
She taught me how to fasten each piece into place.
And how to shake the towels to fluff the nap.
A ritual, perhaps, however common place,
And when we were all done I would collapse
To watch the cotton clouds float in the cobalt sky.
While diapers and dish towels absorbed the sun.
And changed from soapy damp into a downy dry
Perfumed with scent beyond comparison.
At last we gathered in and carried all between
Us in a basket. Clothing fresh and clean.
A sonnet for all those who remember clotheslines.
My professor did not like it...said it was too sentimental.
The Leener


Woman in a Window said...

ohmygod, the first few years and all I could hear was Dylan Thomas and Fern Hill, oh my god, my favorite poem ever. OK, deep breath and back to read yours.

Woman in a Window said...

Screw your professor! I love it!

Wow. Really. And the shared act of hanging clothes and all the beauty involved in the simple drying of things. Well, like I said, screw him!

Butternut Squash said...

I loved it. It was a scene I understand, with ritual and scent, and fluffy clouds. A poem loving life. In my mind, I'm running up and down between clothes lines all over the neighborhood with my arms out stretched touching all the laundry and hoping that no one catches me.

Linda Sue said...

your professor has his or her- head up arse! Is that unsentemental enough? LOVED the poem, truly did, and I felt so fresh and happy after reading it into my chilled bones! thank you!

Anonymous said...

I can see it in my imagination. Very well done.
Now -- winter time, that was a different story. Maybe your professor was remembering some of those times.

Jeannelle said...

What do professors know, anyway. Now I'm really glad I didn't go to college. Your poem is lovely, capturing a very special activity.

Anonymous said...

It's the same as art, often the captured pictures of domesticity are the best - proff needs his/her head read.A beautiful poem Leenie.I have a whole collection of washing-on-the-line photos from around the world - in fact, do you mind if I include your wonderful poem, linked to you, in my next post?...I'm really impressed with it...and blah to your Prof.

rebecca said...

i've never used a clothesline, but i like the sonnet. it relates to a lot of simple memories.

Char said...

Your prof was a poop! I loved your poem. And there is nothing like the smell of sun dried linens. My Mother still dries her bed linens on the clothesline and it is bliss to lay your head on those pillow cases after driving 15 hours to get there!