Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sewing as Poetry

One of my other art outlets is poetry. I had a reading at a local bookstore last weekend so was consumed with rewriting. I also wrote this (not my best, but apropos):

Learning to Sew on a 1954 Singer Featherweight

I.
First year 4-H, make a scarf and a handkerchief:
use an iron without getting burned;
stitch a straight seam on the sewing machine;
pivot and sew another straight line,
pink with shears (so as not to cut through
the seam that you just sewed). Tie a knot.

Second year, sew a practical apron:
learn how to gather a seam,
bunch the fabric for an attractive pouf;
learn to sew on pockets—
presumably for handkerchiefs
when weeping in the kitchen.

By the fifth year make a lined,
formal dress. Do not plan
on wearing it to the prom.
The color will be garish,
the left breast will sag.
You will stop sewing for 20 years.

II.
I am mesmerized by the needle
dipping in and out of the fabric,
ten, twelve stitches per inch,
a locking line of thread
linking two pieces together.

None of the other stuff, before
or after, interests me:

agonizing over choices of fabric,
pre-washing the cloth, ironing,
measuring, pinning, cutting patterns,
winding the bobbin, threading the needle.

The smell of the machine oil
and the whir of the wheel
keeps me sewing, anything
with long, straight lines.

Theresa, Poetmama

2 comments:

OmMama & KraftyKatina said...

I LOVE it! I want to go sew now! -C

AK Kathy said...

I love your poem! Back in HS who'd a thunk we'd both be sewing....I wouldn't have predicted I'd be embroidering and hand stitching!