All points east.
Forceful gusts have taken up
the slack clothes line, compelled
a laundered horizontal.

I recall a childhood dread
the full-blown napery
whip-twisted with fearful faces
or phantoms outstretched
catching blind runners
in a suffocating grasp.
Blouse and trouser
pneumatic torso parts 
of dumb, fluttering beings
as if some grisly massacre
was on display.

But it's only
the toss and pitch of March winds
a swirling fusion of colour 
the flap-slap of textures
like Tibetan prayer flags
 - Please God, let me see another Spring. 

An ekphrastic poem from Marc Flatternde’s “Wäsche im Wind” (washing in the wind) for Merril’s Poetics prompt: March Wind

42 thoughts on “Phantasmagoria

  1. My goodness this is incredibly dark and potent, Laura. I especially relate to; “Blouse and trouser pneumatic torso parts of dumb,”.. you took the prompt to the next level! 💝💝

    1. a child’s pareidolia and paranoic fears coming to the fore here (this turn of events took me by surprise!) before the adult brings some sense of relief

  2. Oh, Laura! This is filled with such vivid descriptions. You’ve made the laundry on the line, the child’s memories, and the adult all come alive. I love how you captured it all. Wonderful poem!

  3. I liked being surprised by the twists you took here. All that magical thinking and animism that influences us as children is so well illustrated here.

  4. A child’s nightmare laid bare; excellent work, crushing the prompt. I liked “the flap-slap of textures, like a Tibetan prayer flag.”

  5. You made laundry on a line, blowing in the winds of March, come to life / terrifying as it might have been to a child’s eyes.

  6. Dark from the brightness, and so effective Laura. Hope you make another spring my friend. Personally, I believe you got it easily! 🙂✌🏼❤️

  7. I admire the energy of the laundered horizontal. The last stanza though is uplifting and hopeful with the Tibetan prayer flags.

  8. A beautiful poem of nostalgia! I remember those days. The full-blown clothes do give a ghostly feeling. Well done Laura.

  9. Love this, Laura! I was reminded of childhood fears when mom would forget to remove the clothes and they would be fluttering ghoulishly on clothesline all night.

  10. As if…as if…what a line…those clothes on the line, fluttering like memories do too….reminding us…they are part of a collection of semiotic symbols, part of all our histories…displayed, overtly…

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