Whalebone and lace

I wanted you to know I had worth

Beyond the kitchen sink and the classroom

I was shaped in whalebone and lace


My dreams fashioned and woven

Delicate structures faded from regret and loss

Unheard songs and stories stitched in unseen seams.


Hidden from view by what you all chose to see in the lines on my face

A smile here, a kindess there, eau de cologne on a summer breeze

Handbag, lipstick, loose change. Sad eyes, tears shed, loves lost, hearts bled.


But I was shaped in whalebone and lace

Beyond the confines and drudgery of my miserable life

I wanted you to know I was beautiful and had worth.


Alison Jean Hankinson

This was for Toads, and it was about Bang-You’re dead… I kind of went off at a tangent at first and thought I was supposed to kill someone, so wrote a poem about killing someone with a cricket bat… it had a touch of dark humour about it, and then I thought maybe that wasn’t what it was supposed to be…this was actually attempt 3….

The image was portrait of Dona Isabel de Porcel by Goya. creative commons.



Author: alisonhankinson

Walking tall whenever I can.

16 thoughts on “Whalebone and lace”

  1. This is so incredibly tender and beautifully heart-stirring.. especially like; “My dreams fashioned and woven delicate structures faded from regret and loss unheard songs and stories stitched in unseen seams.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And that is how it was with most women back then – to be dutiful and mindful to their husbands, fathers, brothers – whoever held the pursestrings. Such a sad poem.


  3. Noooo, I didn’t want poems about killing someone, my goodness. I meant poems about being dead one’s self. This poem is certainly about a kind of death, an inner death, and yet we as readers are relieved to see that this one is quite alive, if only at her core.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This poses an interesting question – How would one want to be remembered? In this case, one wonders if any person truly knows what goes on behind the whalebones and lace.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What is the heart housed in? Surely whalebone and lace. This letter from the dead speaks so earnestly and yearningly of the very thing that could never quite be said or shown. Heart of hearts. Magnificent.

    Liked by 1 person

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