poetry critical

online poetry workshop

Great Grandma's Washer.(1965)

She insisted washing machine age would pass by.
"Can't be doin' wi' it an' dunna want te try owt new fangled,"
she gasped, leaning on her mangle,
surveying a tangled mess in her dolly tub.
She preferred cold bottomed certainty of  pot sink,
lugubrious black rubber plug and ring,
underwear crisping  in front of roaring range,
never dried on line outside,
"Men are all filthy swines!" she cried.
Couldn't see how Hotpoint could transform washing day,
bring a chug to churn ghastly visions of bloomers viewed
through soapy mists spin and swirl, twisting knicker elastic,
they come out revived to trip the light fantastic.
Finally succumbed to pressure from my mum
and in it came, pitched next to scourers, Vim, polished
donkey stone,she glumly floated into a brave new world.
What exactly was the point of all those endless wash days,
now she'd been left  soft soaped,  her cycle almost complete?

new fangled-new and different way of doing commonly used in Lancashire dialect.

mangle- a hand rotated system of rollers to extract water from wet washing.
dolly tub- a very large metal tub in which dirty washing was placed and manually churned with a
large wooden paddle.

Donkey stone-large flat grey stone used to scrub ingrained dirt off collars and cuffs

Last line ,first stanza refers to the fact that many women out of either shame or modesty aways dried their underwear indoors ,even on the hottest of days in industrial Lancashire.

bloomers-large knickers

Larry Lark-total twat

18 Jan 06

Rated 10 (7.3) by 1 users.
Active (1): 9, 10
Inactive (11): 1, 3, 3, 3, 7, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10

(define the words in this poem)
(939 more poems by this author)

Add A Comment:
Enter the following text to post as unknown: captcha


ooh. bloomers.

i lark you larry.
 — bettalpha

What's with the foot-notes?  Are we stupid?  This needs some grammar help.  How about some pronouns in your sentences instead of just beginning with the verb or an adverb?   I want to like it but something irritates me about the wording.  
 — Isabelle5

Larrylark!  You know I love you but...
 — Isabelle5

I do find the punctuation unusual in certain places, BUT I love this poem. The descriptions are consistently entertaining and vivid. The grandmother's character is irresistible. Lines 13+14 are tumbling and steamy. "glumly floated into a brave new world" is just so amusing. And the reflection in the last line provides a well-scrubbed finish.  Wonderful, Larry the Laundry Lark  [ 10 ]
 — borntodance

"Can't be doin' wi' it an' dunna want te try ewt new fangled," I can just here that woman loud and real Larry :0)

all the best

 — unknown

Beautiful character study, concrete imagery, and engaging (I also got  chance to pat myself on the back for knowing what "Vim" is, thank God for long Lancaster vacations).  I love the internal rhymes and the word/soundplay throughout.  My only suggestion is that the dialect in line 2, while assuredly accurate, feels a bit overdone; "Can't be doin' wi' it an' dunna want te try ewt new fangled" has six words out of thirteen modified in some way, and I stumbled on it even on 2nd read.  Maybe make it easier for 'mericans?  Good work.
 — mikkirat

Dear bettalpha

I prefer Y-fronts myself.

Larry string vest Lark
 — larrylark

Dear Isabelle5

Far from me to think your stupid but some people have previously complained that they don't get some of the English colloquialisms in some of my poems so i thought i would provide some explanations.Isabelle,I love you too.

Larry reet grand lad Lark
 — larrylark

Dear Borntodance

Thanks for reading,your comments are much appreciated

Larry mangled up in blue Lark
 — unknown

footnotes are good at times...
for instance--that recent poem "ipissimisms" or whatever it was.
that word does not exist...
a footnote would have been helpful on that one.
 — aforbing

Ipsissimus means, higher self or selfhood.
 — unknown

Dear Pip

Thats because she lives just up the street from me ,a 90 year old woman with 1930's habits.Thanks Pip,speak to you some more soon

Larry History in the making Lark
 — unknown

Dear Mikkerat

Thanks for the crit,most old people round thid neck of the woods speak like that and thays why i can never understand wor  t'hel and flippin' 'eck theer on abawt.

Larry master of the dialect Lark
 — larrylark

Dear Aforbing

I find myself keeping footnotes ever since a steam roller ran over my feet

Larry flatfoot Lark
 — larrylark


dont you jus wuv it when extwended metaphwor jus comes
togewer woik dat so fine and dandy?

wel, oi do

 — unknown

Something I can relate to, my great, great grandmother (who lived in Pailsey) passed away aged 97. She had never owned a washing machine.
 — unknown

To further to discussion on Larry’s footnote and Issabel grasp of the English Language in its varying guises) please consider the following:

There is no egg in eggplant or ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple...
Is cheese the plural of choose?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
In what language do people recite at a play, and play at a recital?
Ship by truck, and send cargo by ship?
Have noses that run and feet that smell?
Park on driveways and drive on parkways?
Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.
We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce, and hammers don't ham?
If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?
One goose, 2 geese. So, one moose, 2 meese?
One index, two indices?
How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?
When a house burns up, it burns down.
You fill in a form by filling it out, and an alarm clock goes off by going on.
When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it?
English muffins were not invented in England or French fries in France.
 — unknown

Dear LarryLark,

You know Y-fronts will fry any Larry juniors, right?
Maybe Opal'd be happy for that ^_^
 — wendz

Hey wot woger cool to the drip
 — larrylark

Dera Unknown

My great grandmother never even saw a washing machine.
 — larrylark

Dear Unknown with the long reply

My dear friend,you have the potential to be a great philosopher

Larry potty trained Lark
 — larrylark

Dear Wendz

She's stuck it out all these years so i guess so.

 — unknown

Opal’s bloomers would of course give granny’s mangle a considerable testing no doubt, and filled her indoor line to capacity...
There would be no chance of them blowing up the ginnels on a windy day.

Barrage balloons are of course not unknown in Lancashire.

 — unknown

antiques make me sneeze, but you write like a published poet.
 — outtolunch

Ever seen The Mangler?

It's a b horror flick about a possessed industrial laundry machine.

I kind of like it in the very end, when they're running from the machine down in some tunnel thingies, and the hero is dragging the damsel behind him, and his shirt slips down to reveal his shoulder, and it's strong and oddly vulnerable and I found it very sexy. But then the machine ate his brainy brother-in-law with the Farah Faucet hair. That was kind of funny.

I like your pome.

Well, it makes me feel kind of dirty, like I need me some suds.

Po Mangled Perv Vertea
 — povertea

Dear Mor

Just like gasbags are not unknown in your neck of the woods ,or should that read neck.

Larry helium gas Lark
 — larrylark

Dear outolunch

Flattery will get you everywhere

Larry in his own write Lark
 — larrylark

Dear Povertea

I once worked in a Chinese Laundry and though i have to say the pay was good it was a sweet ans sour experience.I will look up the film you mentioned.


Larry Number 43 Lark
 — larrylark

The only answer of why women’s love to wear Discount Christian Louboutin Boots is because Cheap Louboutins makes them look feminine and gorgeous.
 — asd2011

Women who are overweight, have arthritis, or have high Christian   Louboutins Wedding Shoes, will experience more frequent Christian  Louboutin Boots problems (most common are tendon and muscle strains,  hammertoes.
 — asd2011

When thinking of Cheap Moncler Jackets for ladies  you have to also Look at Moncler UK.
 — asd2011

Recent Best (expand)