A Vestige of Finery
Among my mother’s things
I found a neatly folded linen tea towel,
a vestige of finery
with mappings of needlework
Tiny stitches dove in and out
of the tight linen criss-crossings
of warp and weft
with the accuracy
of Olympic swimmers
dolphin kicking their way
around the edges and into
the emblematic central image
An entire miniature world of stitchery
created with a small metal
spear and binding sets of threads
capturing virgin territory under the
command of someone, Anonymous,
with deft hands, unwavering focus
and visionary prowess
all the time knowing
surrender to the household was required
for it to become a mere
I gaze and wonder if this towel
ever buffed-dry any fine china?
was wrapped around a hot pot of tea?
Or wiped up any spills in a kitchen?
or did it remain untouchable,
wrapped in the very tissue
as it was found
sleeping in its own perfection
a voice never spoken
Very nice Ann.
In the last stanza I was centuries back admiring the handiwork.
So glad it sent you somewhere. Thank you for your comments, especially great painting.
Really appreciate the imagery here. Pulled me right in.
So glad to hear that happened for you. Thank you so much for your comments.
These small and seemingly mundane things of life. A tea towel with “domestic” art. I love imagining its life, your mother’s careful work and the ultimate fate of the towel.
Yes, tea towels of an earlier age would be a domestic art, and the history of the tea towel is an interesting one…I live among antiques and it is hard to escape imagining the life of many of them..and wonder how they were seen, used, loved… in ages past. Glad you saw things…
Thank you so much for your comments.
Great Ode to needlework! Love the second stanza.
Thank you for your comments!–so glad you point out the second stanza as I was not sure how that read to others but that is how I saw it, felt it yesterday.
I so appreciate hand work, and the way you wrote this poem. Afraid my eyes are too old to do this work anymore but I’ve collected several pieces and use them.
Thank you for your comments—it is so incredible how much intensity of purpose went into some examples of handiwork that I have seen too…Some stand alone ( frame or just set aside to gaze at)…but as I go through time myself with aging–I see the merit in using certain beautiful things that were meant to bring aesthetic lift and sense of enhancement to the repeating chores of life–thank you for reminding me of that! Not everything has to last forever….