High summer may seem like an odd time to be thinking of St.Brigit, whose feast is after all on frosty 1st February. But since she took over the mantle of the Celtic goddess Brighid, she is a saint for all seasons and many eventualities. The main folklore about her involves her cloak, or mantle, which miraculously expanded to the point where she had enough good land from the King of Leinster to build her monastery in Kildare. The Poetry Daily poem references that piece of folklore.
On days the world is just too full
of holes in the universe threatening
to open like the polar ice caps
I plain knit woolen squares.
I'm knitting a blanket as large
as St. Brigit's mantle that got her
enough to build her sanctuary.
She did it large. She could share.
I'll knit the largest sofa throw,
large enough to cover the whole globe,
invite everyone to find their square,
secret names encoded in yarn.
Some are menders. Some are weavers.
Some have a talent for making holes.
But we all need Brigit's blanket.
She won't leave a soul out in the cold.
Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.
Featured image Photo by Rex Pickar on Unsplash
It’s my current obsession – wool and knitting. (My favourite wool shop was closed over Christmas and I had one of those moments when I knew what it felt like for an addict who was jonesing for a fix, anxious that their supply might run out!) My husband has several scarves, as do friends (one kindly refers to hers as a talisman), and relatives, even some of the guys at the prison. I weave wishes in with the stitches, so I am sort of the knitting fairy godmother. But also, this is old, almost ancestral activity. With the Festival of Brigit about two weeks away, I am reminded that one the the goddess Brighid’s oldest symbols, according to Mary Condren, is the weaver’s beam. Surely Brighid’s girdle would have been woven, or knitted. Today’s Poetry Daily is a a Venn diagram of my two favourite activities at the moment – knitting and poetry making.
First, there were the animals -
the yak, the goat, the sheep -
who gave to us their fleece to keep.
Then the wheel, then the spindle,
then the weaver's beam
like some sovereign's sceptre gleaming.
A loom is a wide horizon,
it is a carpet flying
wings made from pieces of string.
Take two sticks, of wood or bone,
and with some thread
warmth and comfort will spread.
First, by the animal's very breath,
their spare coat spun by spinner's sinew
working wheel's treadle of ancient yew,
spinning the thread, dying it, too,
working its warp and weft
using muscle and fingers deft.
Knit and weave and mend.
What is broken shall first be warmed.
Weaver's crooning breath will also transform
any cold, broken thing back into
a single piece, even a new limb.
Weaver's know the how of new paradigm.
Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved
Featured image Photo by Olliss on Unsplash