Fun Clothesline Poem


I have to admit this is not mine, nor is the author identified. It is one

where the memory of clean, gently blown sheets with the brisk, stiff

texture makes this poem worthwhile. I hope it is evocative of olden

days when your mother or grandmother, (father or grandfather) put

clothes on a line, using wooden clothespins and maybe, the image

of those undulating sheets will give you a smile or two:


Clothesline Poem


“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.


Clothes off of the line before dinner time,

Neatly folded in the clothes basket. . .

And ready to be ironed.


Well, that’s another whole other subject.”


My son and his wife, hang their summer laundry on a clothesline,

using the big plastic (non-rustable) clothespins. They also have

had clothing line disasters, since they have two big dogs, along

with my daughter in law’s Dad’s Great Dane. These dogs running

around have been known toΒ create some havoc with old-fashioned,

but ecologically sound way of drying their laundry. There are only

a few things better smelling than clean, air- and wind-dried laundry.

The clothing, towels and sheets used toΒ smell like sunshine!


Let me know of any memories this brought forth… thanks for





37 responses »

  1. I hadn’t seen that poem before – it is so true! Down here it is still more often done than not – the hanging of the clothes out to dry. I don’t, but it is a space issue rather than a preference. I would much rather have my sunshine smelling laundry and wind fluffed sheets! πŸ™‚

    • I am glad you mentioned you would prefer this practice. I would, too, but live in an apartment… It is a nice way to have what you described come in from the outdoors, Pauline! I love ‘sunshine smelling’ and ‘wind fluffed’ sheets, too!

  2. lol..i can give you a memory from this minute..2 days washing clothes from 2 boxes movers brought ..i have black evening gowns , night gowns, red dresses,black tops hanging from every door in this place.. you have to twist & turn.. i feel like a hippie, when they hang those beads from doorways.

    • I enjoy the way you turn and change paths with your wordplays, so much!! This was a great image, with the ending being so close to how I sometimes feel. I remember those beads from doorways and I am always a ‘hippie’ at heart! Thanks, my dear!

  3. Robin … Thank you for sharing this poem. It brings back so many lovely memories. I miss the smell of sheets that hung on the clothes line to dry. Our HOA (Home Owners’ Association) would have a fit if we did hang our clothes out to dry on a line. Too bad! I think it’s much more ecologically sound to dry clothes that way. πŸ˜‰

    • I like that you brought up an important issue, ecology! It sure would save gas or electric dryers’ energy and overall, is nice way to dry clothes. I am sure there are many neighborhoods, these days that ‘frown’ upon this practice, Judy! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Smiles!

  4. I had to laugh when you said does it twig any memories. YES! A new puppy grabbing my underwear out of the laundry basket and running around the yard with it as I’m trying to hang things on the line.

    • I like this memory that I tweaked and your adorable puppy rascal! I had a daughter who used to wear her Daddy’s socks on her head, like she had puppy ears! Anneli, so glad I got a positive and happy memory brought back! Smiles for helping it for me to remember one with a little toddler daughter who wished she were a puppy!

  5. I love this poem, Robin! You can tell a lot about a person by their clothesline. πŸ™‚ This poem reminds me of traveling to West Virginia, when I was a child, to visit my grandmother. Going through the mountains, we saw a lot of clotheslines.

    • I am blessed with happy memories so glad this brought some of yours back, too. Jill thanks for traveling to W Va and telling me about the mountain people’s clotheslines. It is a special glimpse into your childhood, Jill.

  6. Both of my grandmother’s hung their wash and ironed it.
    I just hang mine in the summer (warmer seasons). All except the permanent press.
    Not in every season.
    And I rarely iron anything.
    I’ve got an umbrella type and I try to put my towels on the outside and tuck the unmentionables in the center. Not that there is a whole lot of visibility to my clothes lines…

    Also reminds me of the clothes lines between the apartment buildings in the cities…

    When you drive in the country here you can see the Amish clothes lines…
    All the sizes of all the family…

    • I realized you were out in the country, but glad you have the umbrella type to have your unmentionables hidden! Thanks for this description and sharing your current and past memories of laundry, Jules!
      I remember photos of city apt. buildings with clotheslines, even in foreign countries, still. This was a great reminder, Jules, to add to this post. I like the idea of picturing the Amish family different sizes, too. Smiles!

      • You reminded me that when I was in Italy –
        the back yard of the place we stayed at was basically clothes lines for the bed linen. Not sure if they had a laundry press or if the linens were ironed – daily. But I remember seeing the sheets blowing in the wind. (Maybe the tablecloths and towels too?)
        OK for electric washers, but if you’ve got the sun – why not use it. πŸ™‚

        Not so much out in the country but on the outskirts of suburbia. A nice place to be πŸ™‚ I’ve lived in the cities, the country, in apartments and other neighborhood houses small and larger than what I’m in now. I guess after over 24 years in the same place one could call a place ‘home’ πŸ™‚

      • You have shared a great memory of Italy. I am so glad you mentioned this one, with linens hanging out back and they included sheets, maybe tablecloths and towels? I have to say sometimes I feel that towels need a little bit more softening, like in the dryer… my humble opinion, Jules!
        I loved the big moon and wanted to ask you before it leaves, since you live out in the country, did you know about the Comet Lovejoy? It is a special once in a lifetime view and I have not been able to catch it. They said from January 5-7th it would be its brightest… Hugs, Robin

  7. my family did this but i always loved the look when i saw sheets hanging and blowing in the wind and i imagined running through them and causing all kinds of havoc )

    • I am so glad you still hang yours out, too, Jen! I would love to have a balcony or patio and then a smaller line outside. My apartment building doesn’t have this sort of access… Thanks for the funny comment, too. We hope to not have to iron, which means some things can be put outside and others need to be put in the dryer…

  8. What a blast from the past really. My great grandmother changed churches and therefore religions over something hung on a clothesline! A quilt she had donated ended up in the wrong hands.

    • This was quite a story about your great grandmother, I am pleased to have you sharing it with us, here. I hope this story will be included in your memoir of your family, Luanne! I enjoyed this ‘poem’ or saying that I found, but could not track down the author or year it was written. I embraced its message and love the old time flavor of it. Thanks, Luanne!

  9. It actually brought back several! How shocked we were (early 70s) when our neighbors across the street hung out their clothes and there were two rows of black jeans and T-shirts – apparently the 20-something “kids” WEREN’T wearing the same clothes everyday! It also took me back to the 3 level flats of my youth and New Bedford, MA where lines on the upper floors were on pulleys between houses – I was fascinated by the housewives hanging out there windows pulling clothes in. And then back to the early days of my marriage – the bittersweet of finally being able to afford a clothes dryer and assuring ourselves we’d still hand out clothes on NICE days to not forever lose the crisp sheets with the sunshine smell. Alas, laziness ruled. Thanks for the look back and the smiles!

  10. I love the clothesline poem, Robin. It reminded me of our stay in other countries where the idea of owning a dryer is unheard of unless the family owns a laundry business. Even in the winter families hang clothes out to dry. If it rains, clothes are just left to dry out like the rest of the outdoors.

    You are right about the fresh scent of air-dried clothes and bed sheets – it is like bringing the outdoors inside from the solar-powered clothes drier. πŸ™‚ – Mike

    • I like that solar-powered clothes dryer comment! smiles! Also, thanks for pointing out other countries use this more frequently than we do sometimes! I like the international flair you add to my posts, Mike!

    • I am so sad I don’t see as many hanging outside either, Brenda. My son and his wife do this and they also, use their clothesline, when they don’t have clothes on it. Did I ever tell you that Jamie’s dogs bit holes in the hose, so now they suspend it up along the line like a line of sprinklers! The kids love it and they jump around as much as we used to in a sprinkler. Cheap way to have fun in the hot summertime!

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