The Clothesline

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“A SONG FROM THE SUDS.

“Queen of my tub, I merrily sing,
While the white foam rises high;
And sturdily wash and rinse and wring,
And fasten the clothes to dry;
Then out in the free fresh air they swing,
Under the sunny sky.

“I wish we could wash from our hearts and souls
The stains of the week away,
And let water and air by their magic make
Ourselves as pure as they;
Then on the earth there would be indeed
A glorious washing-day!

“Along the path of a useful life,
Will heart’s-ease ever bloom;
The busy mind has no time to think
Of sorrow or care or gloom;
And anxious thoughts may be swept away,
As we bravely wield a broom.

“I am glad a task to me is given,
To labor at day by day;
For it brings me health and strength and hope,
And I cheerfully learn to say,—
‘Head, you may think, Heart, you may feel,
But, Hand, you shall work alway!'”

~ Louisa May Alcott, Excerpt from Little Women~

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“There is always plenty of washing to do;
Beds to be made, and garments too;
Meals to be got, and clothes to mend,
And just for diversion (?) the babies to tend.
No matter how well these duties are done, 
They come again, with to-morrow’s sun;
A never ending circle it swings,
Happy the woman who works as she sings.”
~ Excerpt from The Ohio Farmer’s Home Guide Book, 1888

“A clothesline was a news forecast, to neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep, when clothes were hung to dry.

It also was a friendly link, for neighbors always knew,
If company had stopped on by, to spend a night or two.

For then you’d see the fancy sheets and towels upon the line;
You’d see the company tablecloths, with intricate design.

The line announced a baby’s birth, to folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes, were hung so carefully with pride.

The ages of the children, could so readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed, you’d know how much they’d grown.

It also told when illness struck, as extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe too, haphazardly were strung.

It also said “Gone on vacation now”, when lines hung limp and bare.
It told “We’re back!” when full lines sagged, with not an inch to spare.

New folks in town were scorned upon, if washing was dingy grey,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows, and looked disgustedly away.

But clotheslines now are of the past, for dryers make work much less,
Now what goes on inside a home, is anybody’s guess.

I really miss that way of life; it was a friendly sign,
When neighbors knew each other best, by what was hanging on the line.”

~Anonymous~

DSC09826There is a workhorse that serves us well.
Its been around since time can tell.
It has a post at each end, to give support
with a stick in the middle, so it doesn’t distort.
It has lots of friends that come out of a bag.
Which helps to hold up, all kinds of rag.DSC09864
It gets very heavy when it starts to rain.
This is the time it feel’s the strain,
with the weight of the water, upon it’s back.
It sure feels heavy, and is ready to crack.
Then the sun comes out just in time
To save the life of the poor clothes line.
Sometimes the line does give way,
so don’t put your washing out, when there’s rain on the way.

                  ~Sylvia Spencer~

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Poem for a Washday

~Miranda Snow Walton~

“She could not write a poem, she said,
About the flowers and trees,
But on her washday line, I saw
Poems fluttering in the breeze.
She used such gay, embroidered words
That passers-by could tell
Her cottage was a shrine, with love
A daily ritual.
She told of happy hearts within
Whose care was her delight,
Of him who shared her every joy
Coming home at night.
And there were tiny, dainty words
That looked like fairy wings,
Soft, cuddly words for lullabies
A new-made mother sings.
Ah, no, she could not write a poem,
But on her washday line
I saw a poem of living joy
More beautiful than mine.”

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One comment

  1. tammy richards says:

    This is wonderful! I use my clothesline just about every day and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is something so calming about hanging the clothes on the line and seeing them waving in the wind. It is also a joy to wash the clothes by hand – either by plunging them in buckets or using a James washer. The clothes come out so much cleaner than from a regular washer. It is also a great sense of accomplishment to put forth the effort required to hand wash. Thank you so much for these.

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