Monday, 21 December 2015

The ice queen...

I can’t remember the last time I saw frozen washing hanging on a washing line. As a child the back gardens were full of icy clothes made into stiff corpses by the icy winter cold. You could hear the ice crack if you took the clothes down and tried to fold them, and then the ice would melt leaving cold puddles on the floors. These were the days before tumble driers and central heating radiators. The washing would sit on a maiden in front of the fire or hang from the ceiling on a wooden frame and the house would smell of damp clothes and wouldn’t dry for days.

Anyway, I've written a poem about those dark days where electricity was paid for at a shilling a time and a single coal fire heated the whole house, well one room of it.

I've called it The Ice Queen.

The Ice Queen

I remember the days of frozen washing
Days of childhood captured in icy cloth
Winter, how bitter it became
Each drop of water made frost
Inside on the window pane
Outside hanging on the line
Running with garden sticks
The starched collars of shirts made ice
With the breath of the ice queen
Inside my heart sharp icicles
Too frozen for it to hurt
I beat the frozen clothes till they bled.


  1. Vicky Sutcliffe on FB
    Err yes, and inside when the oil heating went! Or was too expensive to put on!

    1. Andrew Height
      Heating inside! Luxury.