Strands

One of the blessings of moving to New Mexico was the delight of the many forms and practices of art in this small community. Within days of my move, I was attending the weekly poetry group and my own poetry began to flow after years of quietude.

Today, I’m feeling a little under the weather – sore throat and weepy eyes – so I’m taking an evening off from reading the oracle. I did pull a few cards … and would love to hear your interpretation.


In the meantime, here is one of my poems called Strands.

Her hands, strong and warm,
smelling of lavender and garlic,
soap and soup,
curled over my small, soft
fingers, fumbling
to hold the metal needles,
the length of white yarn.
I can still hear the click, click, click
of metal, hitting and then sliding
as she guided me.
“Slide the needle through the loop, then
wrap the yarn like this,
pull the needle back, and lift the loop,
just so.” And so,
I did. Again and again, until I gained
the confidence of repetition,
the knowledge moved from
mind to hands,
the needles moving now
in a rhythm of creation,
simple movements forming
warmth, protection, art.

Twisted strands
of cotton or wool,
tied in knots,
creating patterns.
I follow a long strand of
women who held
wood, bone, metal,
and from the twisted strands
provided for
the simple needs of family.
3,000 years ago
a woman in Egypt
sat with her needles
and left behind a pair of socks
for others to find, not hidden
just left behind.

We sat alone by the fireside
or with others, as we shared
the stories of our days
twisting the strands of our lives
into a quiet herstory
that was not hidden
but was left behind
in favor of war, battles, conquest,
in favor of metal shaped in fire,
cooled by water and used,
not to provide for the simple needs
of family or friends,
but to destroy.

The warriors too, were led
by their own elders
And they practiced, again and again,
until they gained
the confidence of repetition,
the knowledge moved from
minds to hands,
the sword, the axe, the cutting knife,
the rifle, gatling gun, cannon
metal moving in a rhythm of destruction
simple movements producing only death.

At the clinic, I watch
The old woman, hands strong and warm,
curled over large, scarred
fingers, fumbling
to hold the wooden needles,
the length of red yarn.
I can hear the clack, clack, clack
of wood, hitting and then sliding
as she guided the young man.
“Slide the needle through the loop, then
wrap the yarn like this,
pull the needle back, and lift the loop,
just so.” And so,
he did. Again and again, until he gained
the confidence of repetition,
the knowledge moved from
mind to hands,
the needles moving now
in a rhythm of creation,
simple movements shaping
healing, time and space.

Emma MacKenzie
12/9/2018

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