The Clothesline

I love this poem, and once again came across it on ylcf.org. We don’t have a dryer, so our clothesline gets lots of use.

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 table cloths”

With intricate designs.

The line announced a baby’s birth

From 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 wash was dingy and gray,

As neighbors carefully raised their brows,

And looked the other way .. . .

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 hung out on the line.

The Clothesline Said So Much, by Marilyn K. Walker

via Young Ladies Christian Fellowship.

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2 Comments to “The Clothesline”

  1. …but people can’t see our line because now everyone has WALLS around their homes to keep the “prying” neighbors OUT (well, here in Arizona anyway.) Sad times–we’ve lost our front porches, our clotheslines, and our connection to those around us…

  2. Oh, Jordan, I love that poem! 😉 We used to have a clothesline, but that was when we lived out in the country!

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