I’d Rather Write a Yarn

Mother’s fingers rocked needles;

they swayed a rhythm just their own.

Between the babbling strands of yarn

a clickety-clack, tender melody forlorn.


Yarn back, then forward, and front.

How confusing can knitting be?

Yet, she hummed each stitch with love

this I effortlessly could certainly see.


Binding off, a hopeless endless thing

to make that final, finished row.

Cast on, not as outdoorsy fishermen,

in their tranquil, pastoral river throw.


I with awkward, clumsy hands would

drop a stitch. Which could not go unseen?

My eyes powerless to see like hers:

SL1, SL1K, SL1P. What does it mean?


With her passing, the needles went to me

a novice or newcomer; not yet fledged.

Housed in cylinder case, gone to bed

till I heard their cry from closet’s ledge.


The aged needles won’t dance a waltz,

as mother could create them do.

Yet, in her memory of aged fiber art

I’ll construct a simple thing or two.


I’d rather inscribe a yarn or two,

put the needles to rest, bring out

the inky pen and let the paper sing.

Compose a rambling story stout.


I think that’s what I’ll do.


In the spirit of Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, we are writing about artisans over at dVerse. Having a little Irish in me and a love of fiber arts I write.


11 thoughts on “I’d Rather Write a Yarn

  1. I, too, love the title, indeed the whole poem – I used to knit and find the whole process of knitting so cathartic but my fingers won’t let me these days and I would rather write a yarn. What great phrases: ‘Between the babbling strands of yarn’ and ‘she hummed each stitch with love’! This Poetics has yielded some wonderful characterisations of real artisans and some very personal memories, Thank you for sharing yours, Patricia.

  2. Oh, YES. What a gorgeous tribute, and a beautiful piece. Your title is so clever, and I could not agree more. I have always said I am only good with a pen, when it comes to creative endeavors. 😉

    I loved this.

  3. Knitting is such a tedious work, I can’t see how people sit for hours. I’ll bet your mom had it down pretty good. Of course sometimes i sit for hours at a blank page with nothing to do at all; a great deal less productive than her. Ha Ha

  4. Yes, let our paper sing, for many of us do not do well with the mechanical/craftsy aptitude tasks. I envy those busy & creative hands that surround us, but mine work hard creating photographs & poetry–& the joy from that is quite enough compensation.

  5. Let the paper sing ~ I am not craftsy myself but I do appreciate the lovely pieces from my grandmother’s hands ~ I admire people who can sit there and yarn while following instructions ~

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