By Margaret Zacharias
Sometimes I need the homely handcrafts,
Stitching and weaving, two sticks and a string.
While new babies knit in their mothers’ wombs
On snowy days when the sun won't smile,
When rains overwhelm the riverbanks, and
Mountains of lava slide into the sea.
Some days my hands fly with music soaring.
Some nights I cry with a hanky box nearby.
Often, I simply count stitches and rows.
They bring purpose to my hours, weeks, and years
On Planet Earth, as they have for countless,
Ghostly generations. Through the freezing,
And the melting, from ice age to ice age,
Through wars and plagues and domino empires,
People were working, quietly counting,
Praying with hope, and patiently stitching.
I live for a while just slowly enough
To turn my energy into matter.
How does the cotton ball grow in its boll?
How do the sheep re-engender their wool?
How did the silk worms keep their secret for
More than four thousand years? Who designed
Those intermittent sticky spots that catch
And stretch elixirs into clothing for kings?
Were the scarves ever worn, that a child knit,
In sympathy for her missing father
Who lived in the deep north woods far away?
Did the clever hats and crocheted sweaters,
That occupied grandmothers into wise
Old age, create shy embarrassments
For the grandchildren who inspired them?
Did the prayer shawl I made for my cousin
Help to comfort her at all, while she died
Of cancer and left young children behind?
But still, I love the rainbow fibers and
The textures of my soft and springy yarns,
As they twist with obedience into
Their patterns at my fingertip command.
I love blossoming blankets that fatten
To keep someone precious warm. I even
Love the intricate stitches that create
Ridiculous fingerless mittens and gloves.
Although I know my stash provides beyond
Any human lifetime, I carry on.
I dip my spindle, circle the swift, sing
While I weave my own fair share of shuttle
Into this warp of Life. I persevere
To serve the tapestry with faith; so when
An angel of death appears and mortal
Ties seem fully severed, one sturdy thread
Of loving prayer, that runs clear through,