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Poem: "Knitwise" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Knitwise"
This poem came out of the February 5, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from kelkyag.  It has been sponsored by an anonymous donor as a gift for thesilentpoet.  This poem belongs to the series One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis.


Shaeth watches Glenta knitting during services
and asks her what she's making.

"Slippers today," she says, not looking up.
"It's a tricky pattern. You're not ready for it yet."

Another time, he sees her knitting toys.
Silently she hands him a lop-eared rabbit
to send to his daughter Desdemona
whom he never sees but secretly loves anyway.

Blankets are much easier to make
than pieced slippers or seamless toys.
Even Shaeth and Trobby can make these,
which don't have to be perfect to be warm.

Glenta knits gloves with and without fingers,
made of thin cotton or thick gray wool.

She gives away a lot of sweaters.
"Drunks have a tendency to show up in rags," she says,
"and I'll not see them off the same way."

Her hats come in all styles, from plain smooth black
to solid bright shades with contrasting ear flaps
to stripes and triangles and crazy cableknits
or the silly pom-poms in any old color
that she makes to use up leftover bits of yarn.

Glenta knits socks with snug cuffs and turned heels,
joking, "Now I've covered people from head to toe."

Scarves, yes, Shaeth and Trobby can make those too,
long strips of knitting tied off with a playful fringe.

For the other grandmothers she knows,
Glenta knits shawls in a delicate shell pattern,
and if the old women talk about something other than knitting,
well, Shaeth and Trobby know better than to ask.

From the tag ends of wool that spinners call no good,
Glenta makes thick fluffy rugs to cover the wooden floors.
"There is no such thing as no good," she says.
Shaeth thinks again that Glenta is very wise.

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10 comments or Leave a comment
thesilentpoet From: thesilentpoet Date: February 16th, 2013 12:26 am (UTC) (Link)


Thank you, anonymous donor!

As a knitter (and crocheter, but that's neither here nor there), I love every last line.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 16th, 2013 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)


I think it's really sweet when people sponsor poems for each other; the gift option is always available.

As for knitting, I went out and looked up stuff to include in this, like some of the terms and the most popular patterns.
rowyn From: rowyn Date: February 16th, 2013 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)

I love the final lines.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 16th, 2013 12:51 am (UTC) (Link)


Glenta says some of the awesomest things.
siege From: siege Date: February 16th, 2013 02:59 am (UTC) (Link)
"There is no such thing as no good," she says.
Shaeth thinks again that Glenta is very wise.

Now I'm wondering about Glenta's own parentage. Even gods of good things might have mortal lovers. In some cultures, it was kind of expected, even.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 16th, 2013 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)


Far as I know, Glenta was unaffiliated, which is why she was available to take up with Shaeth. If there was anything before that, either it wasn't something she knew about, or she walked away from it.
From: technoshaman Date: February 20th, 2013 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Felting! oooh. a thick felt rug.... especially of good Merino, which doesn't itch... PURR.

I had a housemate once who simply *would not* leave the house without her knitting... I learnt a number of the terms by osmosis, partly in self defence.. :)

<3 last verse. True of MANY things.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 20th, 2013 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)


Knitting is a wonderful craft. It's very relaxing and it makes neat things.

I'm glad you enjoyed this poem!
thnidu From: thnidu Date: October 15th, 2013 12:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I've never knitted or crocheted, but I used to do some embroidery, in grad school. Something to occupy my hands during lectures without taxing (the same parts of) my mind. Once I made a sharp heptagram (7-pt. star) on the back of a shirt, with the points in the color's of Newton's spectrum. The shirt was pink, and as I was finishing the star I thought it really needed a background, so I made a black sky with grey clouds around ("behind") the star, and puffed out the clouds with an extra layer or two. I don't know what happened to that shirt. Wish I still had it. (And could fit into it!)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 15th, 2013 12:12 am (UTC) (Link)


I never had a knack for knitting or crocheting. I did better at embroidery. I'm quite good at hand sewing -- faster than on a machine, in fact, the way technology misbehaves around me.
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