A Slice of Life for Poetry Friday: Quilting a Garden

                         11454297503_e27946e4ff_h   poetry-friday-1-1

I had good intentions when I decided to participate in Laura Shovan’s Found Object Poetry Project last month. Sadly, about halfway through the month, life intervened and writing a poem every day just wasn’t possible. I kept hoping to catch up though, so I downloaded Laura’s photos and jotted notes.

All of the photos were intriguing, but some spoke to me more than others. And although her sewing machine was much more utilitarian, this reminded me of my grandmother.

Photo by Matt Forrest Esenwine
Photo by Matt Forrest Esenwine

My grandmother raised three children during the Depression, so most of her sewing was out of necessity. But she also made gorgeous quilts out of feed bag fabric for my mother and my aunt that are still treasured family possessions.

I thought this poem might be a villanelle, but oh my, what a mess that was! So I took the lines I liked the best, rearranged them a little, kept some of the rhyme, and came up with this draft.

“Quilting a Garden”

After she finishes chores and demands,
a young woman cuts precise patches,
arrays them in patterns,
harmonious and grand.

Coarse cotton brightens hard times gloom
A young woman sews with a patient hand,
quilts a garden into bloom.

Stitch after stitch, thread becomes plume,
weaving her story strand by strand,
quilting a garden into bloom.

© Catherine Flynn, 2016

Please be sure to visit Linda Baie at TeacherDance for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnnaBeth, Kathleen, and Deb for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each Tuesday throughout the year and every day during the month of March. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

16 thoughts on “A Slice of Life for Poetry Friday: Quilting a Garden

  1. Catherine, this is beautiful. I love the line “quilting a garden into bloom.” How lucky your family is to still have these treasured quilts. By the way, I enjoyed all of your entries during Laura’s challenge. I wasn’t able to participate as much as I’d planned either, but enjoyed the process enormously (other than the missing chunks of hair!).


  2. This is beautiful – I love the connection between a quilt and a garden and a story. I have never thought about those three things together before. Poetry is a goal for me this month – a structure I have only tried twice. I will hold on to this one for inspiration. Thank you


  3. I love this, a tribute memory of your grandmother, and this line: “quilting a garden into bloom”. They worked so hard, didn’t they? Even with a better machine, I know my mother stayed up late into the night making my clothes. I have quilts too, Catherine, such treasures.


  4. This object reminds me of my grandmother as well. This line…
    Stitch after stitch, thread becomes plume,
    weaving her story strand by strand,
    quilting a garden into bloom.


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