Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Tuesday Poem

I'm still recovering from four months straight of teaching online classes at Brave Writer, and I haven't had time to look at, much less ponder and write on, the next Carry On Tuesday prompt, my usual approach to writing poetry.

While J played at last Friday's Guitar Jam with the Free Teen Guitar Class, I sat down at the nearby Starbucks with my poetry notebook--where I scribble down ideas and rough drafts. As I thumbed through the pages, I ran across a scrap I has jotted months ago:

weakness and strength
quilted together,
pattern to pattern,
layer to layer
So I sat down and began to play with the fragment, adding images and ideas, scratching out some lines, lengthening others, crossing through weak words and substituting stronger ones. And here's a full draft, still in rough form:

with the sleep of generations,
weakness and strength
quilted together,
pattern to pattern
layer to layer
with nearly invisible stitches
delicately swirled into
yellowing cotton,
passed from mother to
daughter to granddaughter and onward--
the handiwork of a time
without hurry or rush,
without blare of horns
and screech of telephones.

under this now-fragile quilt
marriages consummated,
babies birthed,
children sweated through measles;
others died.
generations slept
comforted by its heft
warmed by weave of
warp and weft,
work-worn hands
pushing needle
through taut cloth
again and again
in the fading evening light

Copyright 2010 by Susanne Barrett

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