Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Tag Ends and Tapestries"

Based on an audience poll, this is the free epic for the March 1, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl reaching its $200 goal. It came out of the January 2016 [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam, inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] alexseanchai. It also fills the "handcuffed / bound together" square in my 1-4-16 card for the [community profile] trope_bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Frankenstein's Family.


"Tag Ends and Tapestries"


The castle was drafty,
as castles were wont to be,
and the stone walls seemed
to hold the cold no matter
how much wood Igor
heaped on the fires.

"Tapestries would help,"
Vladimir said as Igor put
another log in the hearth.

"Yes, if we had an endless supply
of either money or wool," Igor said.
Outside, a blizzard howled.

"It needn't be excellent wool
to cover a wall and hold the heat in,"
said Vladimir. "After the snow dies down,
give me a day to go around and speak with
the shepherds. I can get us the makings
of tapestries, if you can spare a little
something in coin or barter."

"Very well," Igor said. Then he
wrapped himself in an extra blanket
and shivered, until the werewolves noticed
and piled all around him so that he was
warm even though the castle was not.

When the blizzard finally stopped,
Vladimir went down to the village
and all along the slopes, asking
the shepherds if anyone had
tag ends of wool that were
too short and dirty for sale.

Of course they did, for people
saved those bags to stuff mattresses
or other things where the quality
would not matter so much, but
there was always more of it
than they could use up.

"Spin this into yarn, as thick
as you can make it," said Vladimir.
"The color does not matter; we can
use whatever you have. Our lords
will gladly trade for this. I'm going
to make tapestries for the castle."

It took a few days for the first shipment
to arrive, a bag of yarn the size of
Vladimir's thumb, its creamy wool
mottled with brown stains.

Then Vladimir asked Igor for
one of the long poles they kept
in the barn as farming supplies.

Igor sent Shandor out for it, and
it took the werewolf an hour to return.
"What kept you?" Igor asked.

Shandor grinned and handed the pole
to Vladimir. "I saw Bertolf, and he wanted
to play. The snow makes him frisky," said Shandor.

"I'm glad it does for someone," Igor muttered.

Vladimir cut long lengths of yarn and
knotted them around the pole. Then he
began twisting and turning and tying
the thick strands together.

As Igor watched, a tapestry
began to take shape, its knots
forming an interesting pattern.

Inspired by this display,
Adam snatched a loose end
of yarn and flung it over
Vladimir's shoulders.

Then Alida grabbed it
and ran around the room,
looping the thick cord
past Adam and Igor.

Simza stole the yarn
from her packmate and
made several more turns.

Before long, everyone
was tangled together.

Laughing, Igor helped
Vladimir to sort out
the strands so that he
could get back to work.

"Don't worry," Vladimir said
with a fond chuckle. "You can't
make macramé without taking
a few unexpected turns."

* * *

Notes:

Tapestries are large wall hangings, originally used to insulate drafty castles.

Tag ends are the short, dirty parts of a fleece. Historically people did NOT throw them away, but washed them and used them in projects where appearance wasn't very important.

Chunky yarn comes in natural or dyed colors.

Macramé is a type of knotted craft, like this tapestry. There are basic and fancy instructions for macramé. Here are some free patterns, including one for a wall hanging. For an insulating tapestry, you want thick yarn and dense knots.
Tags: crafts, cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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