WASH DAY STRAGGLER (Betjeman mode)


A sock lies still, alone and crumpled

Her husband left for partners-new

Tumbling midst myriad socky others

Occasionally coming into view.

Front-loader’s rumble whirr and hum

More versatile than Drake’s old drum.

Detergency now far outweighs

Matelot filth of far off days.


As Mr Sock has brief encounters

Socks it to them with that smile

Out-playing other cads and bounders

Hankies, small change and nail-file;

If socks can weep, weep now my sweet

Fond memories of sweaty feet

That red-rubbed toe of uncle Fred’s

And being lost beneath strange beds.


But what’s this new and anguished tone?

The pump is jammed deprived of flow.

A cry of sock-pain chills the others;

He’s gone where no sock ought to go.

The man with van is summoned hence

His fee includes no sundry pence.

“You’ve got a sock stuck in your outlet”.

Burly wisdom brooks no doubtlet.


A magic box of tools he spreads

Both lid and base all nooks and pockets.

It serves in lieu of true credentials

Housing wrench and copious sockets.

Applying his brawn to the appliance

He soon outwits its dumb defiance.

His native skill let no one knock;

In minutes he retrieves the sock.


Chucked limply down beside the missus

He dies - she lives - and doesn’t gripe

For living long she tastes what bliss is

Wedged in behind a noisy pipe.







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Fri 25th Oct 2013 12:49

I'm amazed that you can rustle up a sock poem so quickly Barrie - or did you have this one sitting in a sock drawer? ;)

The washing machine could be a great metaphor for life - as was the mangle in past lives, no doubt. Perhaps the secret of happiness lies in not looking to be a pair - instead finding a nice warm pipe to wedge up against - the choices are endless, as are the ramifications :)

I've much enjoyed your poem because it made me think - and chuckle! :)

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