The Republic of Crochet

This is a re-blog while I am hard at the revision process. And many of the poems that have appeared in second or third draft here are getting remade and reshaped, some with subtle tinkering and some with complete repurposing. And some off cuts are getting a new life of their own in another poem. Even this poem has been re-jigged. The August 12th version is slightly different if you are interested in that sort thing – process – and want to take a look.

I especially wanted to re-blog this particular poem as a tribute to my Friday morning textile art teacher, Morag Donald, and the women who I am getting to know in my community as we needle felt, weave, and collaborate in creating art work, relaxation and connection. We meet in Dowra Courthouse from 10am until noon. We have tea, biscuits and a talking stick. Come on down!

This was originally written #30DaysOfSummerWritingChallenge. It was Day12 and the prompt was ‘Cruel Summer.’ I did write a tanka(ish) five liner on the theme. But what really was itching to flow from my pen came when the phrase “the Republic of Crochet” popped into my head. Our niece, an ardent crochet practitioner, had been here over the weekend pet sitting. But we had also had conversations about a community art projects and some of her own envisioning that would use crochet as its medium.

Textile art rocks!

The Republic of Crochet
For Hannah Daisy

Flowerchild conceived long after The Summer of Love,
your flower power blankets us with
'Chain Stitch One,Chain Two, Chain Three,' linking
us softly in wool.

Everyone loves a flower. Who can resist them?
Petal confetti love bombs us.
But in crochet. Single
stitches mend us one at a time -

the lonely, the odd,
the angry for lack of some love -
with a flower, or a blanket,
some soft wooly love.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured image Photo by Shreena Bindra on Unsplash

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The Republic of Crochet

The prompt for day 12 of #30DaysOfSummerWritingChallenge is ‘Cruel Summer.’ I did write a tanka(ish) five liner on the theme. But what really was itching to flow from my pen came when the phrase “the Republic of Crochet” popped into my head. Our niece has been here over the weekend pet sitting. But we have also had conversations about a community art project she is envisioning that would use crochet as its medium.

The Republic of Crochet
For Hannah Daisy

Flowerchild conceived long after
The Summer of Love,
your flower power
blankets us with 'Chain Stitch One,
Chain Two, Chain Three'. It links us all,
but softly, in wool.

Everyone loves a flower.
Who can resist them?
Petal confetti love bombs us
in crochet. Single
stitches mend us one at a time -
the lonely, the odd, the angry
for lack of some love -
with a flower, or a blanket,
some soft wooly love.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured image Photo by Shreena Bindra on Unsplash

Mending

I knew at some point that the artwork I viewed when I was on Glasgow earlier this month would eventually compost down into a poem. Today’s the day for poetry practice to be sparked by an exhibit of the finalists of the BBC Women’s Hour Craft Prize.  The work that stayed with me did not win.  But it was the one that moved me most. Celia Pym uses darning as a “way to interrogate our feelings about vulnerability, care and repair”, as well as the value of mending. In the exhibit, at Glasgow’s Lighthouse, the mended garment included some biography about the maker, the wearer and the meaning of the garment. It was not just an exercise in salvaging an item of clothing; it excavated story and memory. As the old Celts believed, memory is the basis of all poetry.

Mending

It is an out of date craft,

seeing the warp and weft,

the places where it has become

all unravelled,

where a chasm or crater

opened up in the fabric.

You had your needle and yarn.

You knew how to darn.

To darn was necessity,

like plugging the hole that sprang

in a dyke – for otherwise

the sea will take all.

It’s the last defense. With yarn

weaving it all back into 

a whole piece, the story may

have alteration,

but it still holds up despite

patchwork, cast on, sounds off.

The tide goes out. The seawall

stilll holds it at bay.

Though today mending may be

a dying art. We cast off

the worn beyond easily

into a landmass,

a continent of cast offs-

poor storyless pieces of cloth

insufficently beloved,

piled high, sold so cheap.

Mending used to be a skill.

As necessary as how

to make was in the first place.

The plot’s got mislaid

The fabric’s gone frayed.

Copyright 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.