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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Truth or Dare (08/28/08)

TITLE: Hung Out to Dry
By Emily Gibson
08/30/08


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Ninety degrees Fahrenheit
(free solar energy),
Drying breeze from the south
(free wind generation),
Mother and teenage daughter
(free muscle power with occasional grumbling attached).

A basket of wet clothes,
a bag of recycled wooden clothes pins,
two lines of white plastic cord stretched 20 feet between posts
and a little bit of time.

Hanging clothes outdoors won't slow global warming;
it is indeed a selfish act.
Who can resist a night's sleep
with the smell of wind-dried sheets
and drying off with bath towels line-snapped rough?

Underwear stiff,
dish rags sun-bleached
bras dangling like empty shells
socks mismatched in a row.

Usually closeted truths and dares
hang for all to see and bear witness
without need for xray vision;
no hidden agendas, no wondering "briefs or jocks"
no wondering about sizes or shapes or undercover secrets.

Return in the late afternoon as a thunder shower threatens
to undo the dry cycle, piling loads of freshness in our arms,
clasping eight, ten, twelve clothespins in one hand
in a clean sweep to see who can hold the most the fastest.

If only our personal laundry basket
overflowing with sweaty muddy moldy yucky stuff
could be so simply transformed
in an afternoon of sweet breezes,
purifying light and open scrutiny.

Then we could sleep so much better tonight knowing the truth:
The Lord washes and dries,
folds and softens the dirty laundry
we dare to keep hidden from view.

Once stretched between the poles, pinned up for all to see,
We rest now in His basket of renewal,
a clean sweep of freshness gathered up in His arms
before the storm rips us loose,
flinging us helpless back into the mud.


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This article has been read 507 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Benjamin Graber09/04/08
This poem is both creative and thought-provoking - excellent job!
Robyn Burke09/06/08
I can smell the fresh scent of line dried clothes!
Anita van der Elst09/06/08
Almost makes me want a clothes line again.:-D But no, I think I'll just enjoy yours. Love how you've taken a menial chore & turned it into a lovely spiritual lesson.
Patty Wysong09/08/08
I love how you worked in the topic and lesson, all with a chuckle thrown in. Enjoyable!
Shirley McClay 09/08/08
I could totally feel the warm air and smell the fresh breeze. Made me want the openness in my own life. Great job sharing a lesson!
Leah Nichols 09/09/08
I loved it, every bit except the last line! Great job with the spiritual lesson and your free verse. Would have liked it to end on a positive note; am I reading it wrong? Thanks for sharing this!
Jan Ackerson 09/09/08
Emily, this is BEAUTIFUL free verse, ripe with imagery and symbolism. You're definitely one of our best poets!
Charla Diehl 09/09/08
I remember the sweetly stiff clothes from my mother's clothes lines. Liked the way you worked this into a lesson we all need--just be ourselves and trust God to take care of the rest.
Catrina Bradley 09/10/08
You brought back so many memories of laundry days when I was a kid. I love this - and the message at the end is perfect.