Washing Day Memories

by Caroline Whalley

Yep, sadly Mum died when we were young
But not too soon to pass on teachings
Grown from Caithness tundra 
alongside five siblings.
Subsistence crofting and handcrafted knitting
Sunday was strange, with a strong sense of nothing
Not part of the week, dissimilar feelings 
To Tuesday, Friday or washday Monday
For grown-ups relaxing, for children drifting
to the BBC, and David Copperfield on TV
Monday was washday, gruelling and frantic
Laborious work,  Goblin tub with a mangle 
Lino pulled back and silver fish hurtling 
Across red flags, these carpet sharks tangling
With our bare feet and shrieks.
Stripped bare in the kitchen, underwear in the tub
Fresh liberty bodice felt warm to the touch
Dangling, rubber suspenders, held no meaning for us 
Bodices weren’t boned but had firm cotton strapping
Encouraging posture as well as entrapping.
On good days straight out and pegged onto the line 
Or clothes horses, fireguards, dripping with wetness
As drying takes days after days of dankness 
Woollen cardigans, under rugs within layers of The Mirror
Stretched, as if crucified out on their biers
Dinner had to be easy I remember quite clearly

Day 6, of what will be a ‘one a day’ poem. By the end of April 2021, 30 poems will create a series written throughout the month of April 2021. Each poem covers a fragment, a snippet taken consecutively throughout a day.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.