A washing machine writes…

So this is how you treat me. You pack up and go away
And leave me here alone while you head off on holiday.
No postcard. Not a word. Then you roll in, relaxed and tanned –
And suddenly it’s down to me to drive the salt and sand
From swimsuits, beach towels, t-shirts, shorts and other stuff you wore.
A multi-hued tsunami that engulfs the kitchen floor.

I started work at five o’clock the morning you returned:
For three days straight, without a break, my mechanism churned.
I’d wash and rinse and spin, then yet another load would come;
A never-ending cycle. But you never beat my drum.

For though I’m gentle on your woollens, delicate I’m not:
I’m German engineering at its finest, and I’ve got
Die Kraft to work my way through tonnes of Unterwäsche, Hosen
For your schmutzige Kleidung I’m the best you could have chosen.
I serve in silence, seek no thanks, and ask for nothing more
Than that you unblock my filters, scoop the gunk out of my drawer
And run me through my de-fluff programme every now and then.
So when you come back next year, I can do it all again.


Our long-serving, long-suffering washing machine has run almost continuously since we returned from holiday, calmly tackling three weeks’ worth of laundry without missing a beat. This ridiculous poem is both a tribute to the folks at Bosch, and a humble gift for my dear friend Christine. N.


Shadorma: On the washing of bears


Take one bear
(Of the small, soft sort.)
Fill a sink
(Not too deep.)
Add detergent. Make bubbles.
Roll up sleeves. And breathe.

Distract Bear
(‘Oh look – a hiker!’)
Then grab him
Chuck him in
And scrub. Paws, ears, tail and snoot
Need most attention.

Haul Bear out
Check for vital signs.
Ready? Go!
Straight back in.
(As a rule, two goes round are
The bare minimum).

Grime all gone?
Good. Time to rinse him.
(Be aware:
Even small
Specimens can weigh as much
As the real thing now.)

Let Bear lie
Sink-side for a spell;
Limp, half-drowned,
Matted, cold.
(A sight best kept from the more
Sensitive owner.)

Squeeze him dry
(Size and stuffing type
Will have some
Bearing on
How long this takes.) In a towel
Give a big bear hug.

Peg out, by the ears.
Not as cruel
As it sounds:
The wind fluffs up the fur – and
Bears love line dancing.

Now he’s clean.
But won’t stay that way:
He’s ready
To be stained
With tears, battered, crushed, held tight
Whenever you are.