A Sonnet to Hanging Laundry (8/18 - 19/2015)
Hot on my shoulders now the sun light falls,
As at my feet the sodden laundry waits,
And all around me summer’s nature calls—
Cicadas, blue jays, doves that seek their mates.
The laundry lines stretch empty, tight, and new
Against the posts’ now battered, darkened bark:
Dead trees, they well perform the task they do
And hold the harvest of my human work.
Around me, as I bend and shake and fold
The living world exhales its summer sigh:
Leaves tremble in the breeze, the sunshine’s bold
Evaporation leaves the daily laundry dry.
To do the laundry this way is no chore:
It drains me only of my mindless stress,
and modern-day obsession: faster! more!
The sun, the clothes-line, laden basket: less?
Such worthwhile work done here amid the trees
Leads sweetly to fresh laundry . . . and great peace.
Hanging Laundry Haiku (s) (8/19/2015)
I fold dry laundry
As sweet air moves the wash line
And work becomes joy.
The wash line stretches
Through sunlit air. I fold dry
Laundry. Is this work?
The clothes line stretches
Through green and sun-lit space.
Laundry hangs, air-dried.
Meditation on Hanging Laundry (8/19/2015)
The morning sun warms my shoulders as
I pin the wet clothes on the line,
surrounded by woods, full and lush with summer.
Two heat-stunned cats loll near me in the grass, my steady bend-and-straighten rhythm no surprise; our old dog chops a passing fly,
then lies back down.
I make my own designs on seven lines: today, all towels in back,
then jeans and shirts, saving the fiddly pairs of socks for last.
A blue jay calls above my head; cicadas shriek.
The sun’s so strong the lightest shirts are nearly dry
before I flip the empty basket upside down.
I’m done; the clothes line bears its patterned load,
each item neatly drying in the sun, held by old clothes pins darkened by past seasons’ rains that flawlessly perform their only task.
In half a day I’ll come back out, reverse the process, fold and put away, and meet the same great beauty that rewards me now,
turning this duty into ritual and joy.
Study in Contrast
~Response to Jane's Painting~
You pause before you plunge ––
your human flesh, sun-warmed,
pliant, tender, poised against
Nature’s plenitude ––
also in itself a contrast ––
cool water’s rippling liquid green and gold embrace
that laps the rough, unyielding granite’s upthrust strength.
But most, this image,
captured, calm, forever,
creates one perfect balanced moment
held dear against the harried rush of endless time
outside the frame of our attention.