Monday, 2 March 2015

The history of the clothes line in medieval Europe

Image © Brian Duncan
This is one of the very few poems (less than a handful) I have written practically 'straight off' i.e., with little editing more than correcting a couple of typos and adding some punctuation. It was written on a smart-phone notepad app in the early hours of a June morning in 2012 and was considered good enough to appear in The Poetic Bond III, published in September 2013. You can still purchase a paperback copy of that anthology on Amazon Books (see the link).

At first, the line was stretched out taut,
across the yard, between the posts,
but over years, it lost its snap
as ballast turned and poles relaxed
to sag and droop, and bow the wire,
no longer tight, but still a cord
on which were strung the clothes that hung
from peddler’s hooks, the pants and socks
and vests and drawers, like bunting flags
for Jubilee or twenty-first,
excepting that they looked so drab,
instead of red and blue and white,
but still they flew, if lacking hue,
upon the breeze, a wave, forlorn,
and who were they, who wore those rags?
The underclass in smocks and clogs,
the peasants whelped like rabid dogs,
with weary wives, from hardship wracked
and wrapped in shawls, pathetic farce,
who knew no silk against their arse,
just coarse, the hand that felt their twat,
and lips that bruised as pressing needs
of men on heat demanded that
their penance lasts as long as lust,
and heralds birth, yet more wee brats,
those bairns they'd spawn and call their own,
to carry on the line, their clothes,
their smalls, their grey and coarse haired shirts.

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