The Lune Laundry


The Lune laundry lay long a low
next to the Army Barracks off Wavertree road.
Rows of small high-up windows like weaving mills
gave it an institutional air as you could never see in
so imagining a sort of washerwoman’s Hades.

Vans cream, sometimes green, roared in and out
with regimented precision carrying massive,
varnished, wicker basket’s so heavy
the driver and his mate staggered low carrying them in
continuing the same routine on the way out
but now they were tagged with large white luggage labels.

The Lune catered for every need,
collars starched so stiff
they could be worn for maybe three days
the first being purgatory,
cutting at the neck like a razorblade
making conversation a quizzical exercise between men
with their with head’s held painfully to one side.

Sheets boiled in huge vats were mangled onto long tables
and deftly flicked by white turbaned women
into manageable size before being strung up on
monster drying rails.

Then as the hooter signalled the end of the day,
they rushed out into the road,
pink, parboiled and smelling as if they had just
emerged from a hot soapy bath.

Worse, the surrounding area had the same smell
... anathema to us kids.

By H. Macbryde