Banners (a poem)

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We welcome submissions of poetry germane to our mission. Art is a fundamental component of our strategy for spreading the word about clotheslines. We hope that you enjoy this extraordinary piece of work from a Massachusetts poet:




by Sean Sullivan

My friends, today’s a banner day!
Fit to hang my flags and let them fly
Beneath skies of blue bereft of gray
In free air and sun to wave and dry

Carried from the wash in plastic bin
They’re twisted, moist, coiled, warm
As if all spilled out what was within
My vital organs in this basket borne

So sun shan’t put to rout my shades
My vibrant greens, reds and blues
Turned inside out so nothing fades
Preserve my banners’ brilliant hues

Restless limbs I wrangle and pin
They kick and jab with the breeze
Or there listless dangle, giving in
Content to be outdoors at ease

How with words to say the scent?
A summer forest washed with rain
Its breath then over oceans sent
And at last across a flowered plain

Shirtless when the weather’s fine
I pull on a fresh one from the line
A sensation singular and sublime
Like a tomato eaten off the vine

Each article has its story and themes
Players and setting, a place and time
Well woven into its colors and seams
Intricate, intimate reason and rhyme

A tree whose flagged, seasoned boughs
With weary, reaching gestures shows
Certain secrets of the wind it knows
As how often and to where it blows

Vines clothe its bark, so high they crawl
And from them densely sprouting leaves
Turn from summer’s green to scarlet fall
As though the tree were changing sleeves

This upstanding pillar of a life arboreal
Dutifully wired with my line all the while
Has passion and sense distinctly sartorial
Beautifully attired in the seasonal style

Let neighbors at windows and squinting eyes
Deride and sneer at this quaint mode I chose
As if seeking and seeing dark, stormy skies
Dried as per yesteryear, my load of clothes

It seems a paltry, perverse gesture of pride
To decline to put ourselves out on the line
And I wonder what more is hidden inside
What colors denied fresh air and sunshine

In open air a-flying, out among the green
Loose and limber limbs in breezes waving
Or automatic drying, a cog in the machine
With an eye toward several minutes saving

Let that line be your standard bearer!
Your vivid shades with pride unfurled
Show the quality, colors of the wearer
To this hurried, hot and harried world

A place for you to make your stand
And transform a chore into a choice
Your taut line steadfast in the sand
To give your values vivid voice

Think not that string a trivial thing
For it’s tethered to your very heart
The song of you its chord will sing
This laundry’s lovely long lost art