Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday Poetry Stretch - The Clothes Make the Man (or Woman)

This weekend we enjoyed tax-free shopping for school supplies and clothing in Virginia. As someone who hates to shop, the thought of joining hordes of people at the mall didn't particularly appeal to me. However, I took along a good friend and we spent Friday afternoon looking for bargains. We never left the first store we entered, and by the time we left, I had quite a few new things for fall.

My success in the clothing (and shoe!) department had me reading poetry about clothing this weekend. I picked up my copy of Shoe Magic by Nikki Grimes and read about flippers, sandals, running shoes, baby shoes, golf shoes, work boots and more. Here's one on slippers.
by Nikki Grimes

Rest your soles.
Spread your toes.
Curl, breathe deep.
There now, Dreamer,
Hush. . . .
Next I flipped through Button Up!: Wrinkled Rhymes by Alice Schertle and read about jammies, t-shirts, costumes, galoshes, undies, and more. Here's one on shoelaces.
Bertie's Shoelaces
by Alice Schertle

Good old Bertie,
he lets us hang around.
It doesn't bother Bertie
when we drag along the ground.
We're not up tight
as our Bertie Buddy knows.
We're hang loose laces and
we don't do bows!
All this reading made me realize that there are so many topics I've never written poems about before, shoes and clothing being among them. So, the challenge this week is to write a poem about an article of clothing. Choose any form you like and have fun. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. Hey, fun! I decided to write a poem about a necktie, one of the zillions of things that makes me glad I'm not a man (of course, we have high heels and panty hose, but I'll save those for other poems).

    The Tie That Binds

    A tie.
    A noose.
    It’s neck
    Don’t be
    Don’t try
    a truce.
    It’s of
    no use.
    Just cut
    it loose!

    --Laura Purdie Salas

  2. Fun to play with these. But somehow, couldn't come up with a name for this...

    I am suave, debonair
    or pretty in pink,
    toppled with feathers
    or splattered with ink.
    Foldable, totable
    delicate lace
    rainproof, hoofproof
    motorcycle chase.
    Covered in fruit,
    ribbons, flowers or fur,
    softened in leather
    I make women purr when
    they walk into church
    on a Sunday morn, or when
    drinking mint juleps
    outside on the lawn.
    I crown kings and emperors,
    scare away crows,
    I speak with authority-
    mask people's woes.

    --Diane M. Davis

  3. Fun! Great offerings so far. Here's one I wrote:


    She bought the blouse on the Rue des Rosiers
    because she loved the buttons,
    all true mother-of-pearl, all small.
    Three closed each cuff, one secured the collar,
    eleven lined up nicely down the silk
    from throat to belly, each button
    would be one word in the opening sentence
    of Le Livre des Cent-et-un Fantaisies Parisienes

  4. This reminds me of a favorite hat from my much so that I keep playing with the idea!

    Stocking Hat

    Auntie knit
    me a hat
    in lemon
    and peach.
    I can flip it fast
    over my shoulder
    like the hair
    I will have

    when I'm older.

    Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

  5. Mittens v Gloves

    Mittens make my fingers
    like best of friends
    out on
    the street.
    on the other hand,
    are like cousins
    you can not

    ©2009 Jane Yolen

  6. These are so great! Diane, I love:

    Foldable, totable
    delicate lace

    and the last two lines, especially!

    Julie, what a wonderful contrast between the buttoned-up woman and her Parisian fantasy!

    Amy, I love the image of her flipping that hat over her shoulder!

    And Jane, your poem made me snort out loud. I always wished I had cousins to play with, but I guess it's not always necessarily a blessing!

    I did another one today, Tricia. Thanks for this inspiration!


    It rests on the bedside table
    next to all the prescription bottles:
    a smooth bucket of
    peacock blue wool.
    It’s in fine shape,
    except for one stain
    my grandmother won’t explain
    (it smells suspiciously
    like alcohol).
    A black satin sash
    wraps the hat
    like a mourner’s armband.
    At least that’s what it
    reminds me of.
    But Grandmother says
    I’m ridiculous.
    She’s glad her youth
    sits beside her bed,
    keeping her company,
    filling her nights
    with echoes
    of jazz and gin.

    --Laura Purdie Salas

  7. baby socks so cute and tiny
    with soft padded feet and toenails shiny
    one sock could be a finger puppet
    or a mitten for your little moppet
    raining or snowing
    sunny or wind blowing
    baby socks will be
    the comfort they need

    by: Cindy Blair – 8/11/09

  8. I think this one hit a chord for all of us! Poems are tumbling out!

    (Like clothes in the drier? Oops-- catch that metaphor because it goes viral.)


  9. I just closed the post and had to return just to say, I am still grinning. Thanks.

  10. Tricia,

    I've enjoyed reading all of the contributions to this week's Poetry Stretch!

    I've been so busy packing up half of my house for our trip to Maine on Friday and working on plans for the 45th reunion of my high school class that I didn't think I'd have time to contribute to this week's Poetry Stretch--but the following poem popped into my head just now while I was blowing my hair dry.


    What to do
    When you're sixty-two
    And sporting post-middle-age spread?
    You know that the thong,
    My dear, is all wrong!
    Just peek in the mirror. Nuff said?

    (This is a poem of six lines.)

  11. Oh my lord, Elaine! Thank you so much for the laugh!

    Have a fabulous time in Maine!

  12. These are great fun. Here's one inspired by my travels in Santa Fe this week.

    The Hat

    Made by hand,
    Green silk band,
    Straw braid fanned,
    The hat,
    Folded flat,
    To a mat.
    Time to pack
    The rucksack.
    Into bag, black.
    On the road,
    Hat is stowed
    In shouldered load.
    Shaken out
    Worn about
    When sun’s out
    Sudden gust
    Hold on! You must!
    Saved it – only just.
    Bored boy
    Needs a toy
    The hat’s a joy
    To toss and throw
    Across the row
    Where flowers grow.
    Tossed along
    Across the lawn
    Oh no! It’s gone!
    Street Parade
    Yearn for shade
    Is that a braid
    Of straw I see?
    Behind a tree?
    The hat! Returned to me.

  13. Hi Trici, what a great poetry stretch! Elaine's poem was especially funny and hit home a little too much.

    I made an attempt with "Last Year's Sneakers" over at

    Have a great weekend!

  14. I'm late! But here's my poem - in Australia a jumper is a knitted sweater.


    I looked down at my jumper
    And found a strand of wool.
    My brain told me to leave it.
    My fingers told me, Pull!

    I tugged and pulled and rolled it.
    The strand grew to a ball.
    I’m wearing just two sleeves now
    And Gran’s not pleased at all.