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[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
In hopes of attracting some new readers, I am participating in [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo, a fest devoted to light-hearted creativity. You can view my bingo card here. I'm filling the prompts from my poetic series and shared worlds, so they kind of blur the lines between original and fandom content. If you like my poetry, check out my Poetry Fishbowl project, because once a month you have a chance to give me prompts for the kind of poetry you want to read.

The following poem belongs to my Hart's Farm series, which is historic fantasy set in Sweden ~1850. This is my most popular feelgood series, and such a good match for [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo that it ultimately enticed me to take part in the fest. Hart's Farm is what I write to remind people that it's possible to have work you love and happy, healthy relationships of diverse types. It's where I turn when I get tired of the cruddy art imitating cruddy life that fills so much of the mainstream. This series has over a dozen poems already linked on the Serial Poetry page if you want to read more.

Fandom: Original (Hart's Farm)
Prompt: Knitting / Sewing / Etc.
Medium: Poetry
Summary: The matriarch Ola knits and watches three younger women sewing as she muses about the threads that connect people in a family.
Content Notes: None.


The Threads of Our Lives

I am old, but my hands
are still steady on the knitting needles,
their click and clack measuring out
the hours along with inches of yarn.

It is good to see the seamstresses
bringing their work into the bright spring sunlight,
sitting here by the big glass window
with its row of green plants all along the sill.

There is Tófa, with her light blond hair
trailing down her back in a long braid,
her faded blue blouse tucked carelessly
into a skirt gone gray with washing and drying.
She is the youngest of the three sisters,
slim as a birch, still more girl than woman.
Two pieces of pure white muslin pool on her lap
as she stitches them together into one bedsheet.

There is Trygve, the middle sister,
dark blond hair braided into a crown.
Her dress is a fresh bright blue trimmed with gold;
she is old enough to notice the young men
on the farm when they flirt with her,
though she has yet to choose any of them.
Perhaps she will start with Arnvid, who like Trygve
listens well and weaves people together.
Her hands on the fabric are deft and sure
as she embroiders a border of cornflowers.

There is Tifridh, the eldest,
a woman grown with hair of dark gold
braided up just the same as Trygve's,
which they do for each other most mornings.
Her gray-striped dress is still clean
but the blue apron is blotched and wrinkled
from doing the morning's laundry.
She has a red-and-white pillowcase
from a whole different set, spread on her lap
to let her mend the raveling hem.
As she works, she watches over her sisters
as steadfastly as the mother they no longer have.

Spring cleaning always brings out
so many things that need to be washed and mended.
Outside the window, under the maple's red buds,
I can hear three young lovers arguing.
Trygve looks through the sunlit glass,
trying to see where they are,
what their bodies say beyond their words.

Trygve looks at me, next,
hands wavering over her work.
I am the oldest of us all now,
matriarch of the farmborn,
long past the time when I could
settle anything with a casual remark.
Better to let younger folk
begin with their gentle hints,
and leave the crone's word
for weightier matters.

I flick my fingers at Trygve.
She sets aside her embroidery
and goes to mediate the argument
into a more civil discussion.
Tifridh, who has finished her pillowcase,
picks up the sheet where Trygve left off.

Tófa revives a conversation from earlier in the day,
about whether to dye the next batch of cloth
mauve or plum or possibly peach.
Tifridh supports the idea of plum.
In their slim hands the sewing needles flash silver
and the thread whispers through the sheets.
Outside, the sharp voices have softened.

I attend to my knitting, the tulip-yellow yarn
gliding through my hands, around the tips
of the knitting needles, into the sweater
slowly taking shape over my knees.

These are the moments that make up our days,
spinning our memories into yarns, knitting them together,
rinsing away the dirt and repairing what has frayed,
smoothing each other's rough edges
as we piece ourselves thoughtfully into a family
with the threads of our lives.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-04-10 05:44 am (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
This really works for me.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
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