The Fortunes of a Washboard


An object of hatred in my youth,

I whiled away my time upon a shelf,

Looking down on big round Peggy Tub,

With Copper Posser and Dolly Blue,

Waiting for red raw hands to seize us

On the next steamy Monday morning.


Suddenly an object of desire,

I was whisked away from all I knew,

Chosen for a musical career,

Abused by acne ravaged youths whose

Fingers tipped with bright metal thimbles

Put on the style on Saturday nights.


An obsolete object then for years,

I hid behind a broken mangle

In the junk shop facing the laundrette.

How could I compete with those machines,

Those smug, bland, snooty upstarts

Purring through their pre-programmed routines?


An object of derision, they said,

Neither ornament nor use today.

Who would buy an ugly thing like me

To rub for hours with an aching back?

They can smirk till their motors burn out,

For my finest hour has come at last.


In old age I’ve become an objet,

Proudly on display but never used,

Once again with big round Peggy Tub,

Old Copper Posser and Dolly Blue,

All saved by a man who buys rubbish

And sells antiques every car boot Sunday.

First written for a Ripon Writers' Group competition, it was awarded second place by adjudicator Roger Kendall.