Poetry and Knitting

I am not a regular participant in Poetry Friday (or in anything if truth be told) but I do like to wander around and find some new poems. A favorite spot to visit is Farm School. Last week Becky lead me indirectly to Jane Kenyon, and I read this lovely poem, Let Evening Come. It really spoke to me as I was just back from a trip home to NJ and the east coast for work and the tour d’aging relatives. I spent a nice day with my 90-year old aunt, who has some dementia. (She describes herself as ‘wifty’.) She is a nun, entered the convent at 16, and is now living in the retirement community she helped to build when she ran the order. Here she is at age one, wearing a helmet her uncle brought home from WWI.

kaiser-mimi.jpg

We had a difficult relationship when I was younger, but we both grew and changed and developed a real bond. I miss that, and it’s sad that we can no longer talk about books and ideas, and that there is a bit less of her each time I visit. I picked her up and took her back to my sister’s house, where we spent the afternoon petting the dogs, drinking tea, having lunch and just being together. Of course, I did have to answer the same questions over and over again, but that is not so difficult when you are not with an elder all day every day. She has a deep faith in God, and is not distraught or worried as she faces the great beyond. This poem somehow seemed to capture the feeling of sitting with her, in her own twilight, watching the afternoon sun move across the hill.

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in the long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Jane Kenyon

A bonus is the reference to knitting — does anyone have any other poems that reference knitting ? I’d love to know.

Advertisements

2 responses to “Poetry and Knitting

  1. the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
    by E. E. Cummings

    the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
    are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds
    (also, with the church’s protestant blessings
    daughters, unscented shapeless spirited)
    they believe in Christ and Longfellow,both dead,
    are invariably interested in so many things-
    at the present writing one still finds
    delighted fingers knitting for the is it Poles?
    perhaps. While permanent faces coyly bandy
    scandal of Mrs. N and Professor D
    ….the Cambridge ladies do not care,above
    Cambridge if sometimes in its box of
    sky lavender and cornerless, the
    moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy

  2. “Ode to My Socks” by Pablo Neruda (translated by Robert Bly)
    Mara Mori brought me
    a pair of socks
    which she knitted herself
    with her sheepherder’s hands,
    two socks as soft as rabbits.
    I slipped my feet into them
    as if they were two cases
    knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
    Violent socks,
    my feet were two fish made of wool,
    two long sharks
    sea blue, shot through
    by one golden thread,
    two immense blackbirds,
    two cannons,
    my feet were honored in this way
    by these heavenly socks.
    They were so handsome for the first time
    my feet seemed to me unacceptable
    like two decrepit firemen,
    firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
    of those glowing socks.

    Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
    to save them somewhere as schoolboys
    keep fireflies,
    as learned men collect
    sacred texts,
    I resisted the mad impulse to put them
    in a golden cage and each day give them
    birdseed and pieces of pink melon.
    Like explorers in the jungle
    who hand over the very rare green deer
    to the spit and eat it with remorse,
    I stretched out my feet and pulled on
    the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

    The moral of my ode is this:
    beauty is twice beauty
    and what is good is doubly good
    when it is a matter of two socks
    made of wool in winter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s