Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "In the Palms of My Hands"

This poem came out of the February 18-19 Crowdfunding Creative Jam.  It was inspired by prompts from siege and aura55</lj>.  This is the second poem in the Hart's Farm series set in Sweden, and presents the carpenter's view of the same day as in "Welcome to Hart's Farm."

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them. The rate is $.50 per line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.  

So far sponsors include: aura55</lj>, zianuray</lj>, catsittingstilljanetmiles

65 lines, Buy It Now = $32.50
Amount donated = $17.50
Verses posted = 5 of 10

Amount remaining to fund fully = $15
Amount needed to fund next verse = $1.50
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $5

In the Palms of My Hands

The workshop smells sweetly of pine,
long curls of pale golden wood falling away from the plane
to pile in fragrant heaps around my feet.
Tawny sunbeams fall through the windows to warm the shavings
and release the sticky pitch as I stroke the plane along the pole.
I am glad to be back in the workshop after mending a cabinet earlier.

My daughter Astrid is here with me, helping me work,
always ready to hand me the next tool I need,
with her hair as yellow as pine shavings
and her smile as warm as sunlight.
She wears a heavy leather apron just like mine
and a pretty red hat like the other girls.

Though she stands little taller than my workbench,
she is already diligent, and I know
whose gift she has inherited --
not the quick words of her poet mother,
but the shaping hands of her carpenter father.

When we go to wash up in the common house,
people are already starting to gather for supper.
There is Vendel the farmer, rinsing off the smell of horse,
and I lather his back with the pine-scented soap.
He teases me as we wash, saying that I will
go to supper still smelling of my own work!
I laugh and swat him on the rump.

Seeing him reminds me of all the times
we have worked together in the fields or barns,
ripe oats filling his hand like grains of sunlight,
loyal horses leaning into their harness,
wooden handles under my fingers familiar as a lover's flesh.

Clean and dressed, we head for the dining room.
Astrid in her fresh red dress
scampers off in search of her friend Klara.
Vendel peels away to talk with Elharn,
dark head nodding next to iron-gray
as they confer about some vital detail of the farm.
Inge bounces into the room quite nude,
and hugs me soundly
before moving on to Finlo.

Then I am swept up between Lia and Svanhilda,
their linked arms catching me as neatly as a trout in a net.
Lia is laughing, her golden braid dancing in time, bright as Astrid's
as if mother and daughter were spun from the same sunbeam.
Svanhilda is dark where Lia is light, deep brown hair
hanging over her shoulder like a horse's tail.
Yet they leave off their discussion
of Lia's perfect rhymes and Svanhilda's fabled monsters
to ask about my work, and I tell them
about the long poles I am making for a new hay wagon.

I see that Astrid has settled next to Klara,
and that Klara's mother Karin
has brought the new seamstress to supper,
wedged between Karin and Frida.
The young woman looks timid,
her attention fixed on her food,
but I smile at her anyway.

It is always good
to welcome someone new to the farm,
to watch the slow change as they fit themselves into this life
like the end of a drawer dovetailing into perfect corners.
Behind me I can feel Lia and Svanhilda still holding hands,
and there is Vendel breaking a wheel of bread with his thick fingers,
and here are yellow apples, still warm from the sun, cupped in my palms.

We hold the future in our hands,
fleeting as the shadow that sweeps over the field,
enduring as the promise of sunrise.

Tags: community, cyberfunded creativity, family skills, poem, poetry, reading, romance, writing

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