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The poetess uses her creativity and imagination to describe the clothes hanging on a clothesline.
The poem is divided into five stanzas and the rhyme scheme is aaaa bbcd eeff gghh ii
Hand in hand they dance in a row, Hither and thither, and to and fro, Flip! Flap! Flop! and away they go — Flutt’ring creatures as white as snow,
The clothes on the clothesline are fluttering wildly in the wind. They are a beautiful shade of snow white and appear as if they are holding hands and swinging together in sync.
Like restive horses they caper and prance; Like fairy-tale witches they wildly dance; Rounded in front, but hollow behind, They shiver and skip in the merry March wind .
The second stanza peaks the poetess’ imagination as she compares the clothes to restless horses and fairy tale witches. Like horses that lack calm and are galloping with joy, the clothes too caper and prance. Like witches, they appear to wildly dance. The time of the year is pleasant March and the merry wind causes the clothes to shiver and skip, in essence, it makes them flutter and fly.
One I saw dancing excitedly, Struggling so wildly till she was free, Then, leaving pegs and clothesline behind her, She flew like a bird, and no one can find her.
The poetess recalls watching one such piece of fabric dancing excitedly and wildly struggling to be set free. It finally broke the confines of the peg and clothesline and flew away like a free bird to somewhere no one can find it.
I saw her gleam, like a sail, in the sun, Flipping and flapping and flopping for fun. Nobody knows where she now can be, Hid in a ditch, or drowned in the sea.
The poetess compares the now free fabric to a ship’s sail gleaming in the sun as it gleefully flew away flipping and flapping. It fluttered away quickly leaving behind no traces. Now, no one knows where that material went, whether it landed in a ditch or drowned in the sea.
She was my handkerchief not long ago, But she’ll never come back to my pocket, I know.
It is at last revealed that the fabric was none other than the poetess’ handkerchief. She is aware that it will now never return to her.