Friday, November 18, 2022



The Clothes Line 

A clothes line 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 night-clothes and a bathrobe too
Haphazardly were strung.

It 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 raised their brows 
And looked disgustedly away.

But clotheslines now are in the past
For dryers make work 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 on the line.

(To this day I seem to be able to remember the fresh smell of sun-dried sheets when helping Mum take them off the line.  Those old scents from years gone by still linger somehow.  Do you have any favorites from childhood?  Fresh mown grass is still one of mine to this day, and the baking of bread.)


  1. I enjoyed reading The Clothes line. I have many memories of the clotheslines that were always in the backyards of our homes growing up. Quite a thing of the past. Very practical all year long growing up in Southern California. Hope your week has gone well!

    1. Thank you Ellen, it has gone well and I hope yours has too, especially thinking of you and hubby in his recovery. I see the clothes lines occasionally when we are having a ride in the country. They always make me smile.

  2. I well remember when we lived in a country town being told 'I see your visitors have left' by someone I didn't know. When I raised an eyebrow I was told 'the sheets were on the line'. That said, I still prefer line dried laundry.

    1. That's sweet Sue, a nice memory even though it must have been a bit of a raising eyebrow moment. I had a neighbor/friend who once said your visitors must have left, you don't have as many trash bags on the curb :)

  3. I've seen this poem before and love it. I remember hanging clothes out on the line.

    1. I remember childhood Ann. Loved the smell of fresh sheets, sunshine smell on the sheets my mum called it. Haven't had a line in years and I still miss hanging them outside but it's against our HOA rules :)

  4. LOVE the photo and the poem... but am very glad I don't have one anymore. since the day I got my dryer back in 1969 that is all I use except for a few things that don't do well in a dryer. just wish I had one when my boys were both in diapers, i had 6 dozen cloth diapers running all the time.

    1. That's interesting, and a good memory. One that just came to me is that when I was a lot younger and still living with my parents, I would help mum bring the sheets in and on one very frosty day they were frozen, as stiff as a board. We ended up bringing them in to warm out over a drying rack and the radiators to get the dampness out of them, and into the airing cupboard they would go :) The shelves were right over the hot water tank.

  5. Such a great poem, Denise! I still have a line between two trees in our back yard. I use it for sheets, quilts, and blankets. There is nothing better than to slip into our bed after changing the sheets that were hung outside. I must admit some days I use the dryer instead.

    1. How wonderful Martha Ellen, I would love to be able to run a line in our back yard but rules are rules says the HOA :( and our yard probably isn't big enough anyhow. I couldn't agree with you more about sundried fresh sheets on the bed and slipping into them. Sometimes the simple things in life truly are the best :)

  6. I really love this poem, Denise. It reminds me of my favorite era, the 1800's. I do remember the clothes lines. They were something else, and I can only imagine how hard it was for the women to wash their clothes and hang them to dry. There are those who still use the clothes line, and I think it's wonderful. Thank you for putting a smile on my face this Sunday morning. I think I will pass this poem on to my daughters. Let them know about those special times "back in the day." ; )


    1. You are very welcome Sheri, I still think there are those who much prefer hanging their clothing up on lines. My mother used to but must admit it was a hassle after rain. When she finally bought her dryer it was a Godsend on those days.

  7. We do not have a dryer and yes we still use a clothes line. When wet, it goes onto a clothes horse and takes a bit longer. Cheers Diane

    1. Lovely to be able to do that still Diane :) Thank you and Cheers to you also.


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