Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Busy, Useful, Independent Spinsters"

This poem came out of today's fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by [personal profile] satsuma. It also fills the "Day-in-the-life" square in my 9-2-19 card for the [community profile] ladiesbingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Arts and Crafts America.


"Busy, Useful, Independent Spinsters"


Women's lives are like fiber.

They are cut loose from their skins,
washed and carded and colored.

They are twisted into the ties that bind,
woven into the fabric of our lives.

When they come together,
the sound of their community
is the stamp of the treadle and
the chatter of knitting needles.

It was women who discovered
the way of making wool into yarn,
uncounted centuries ago.

Now it is women who breed
sheep with finer and finer fleece,
spinning DNA as gracefully as lace.

It is women who mine minerals
and mix chemicals in pursuit
of the most elusive colors.

What wonders come from
a day in the life of this fiber,
from the baaing sheep-back
to the laughing woman-lap,
combed, twirled, and tie-dyed
into great works of art.

Their relationships grow
between them like brocade,
showing magnificent pictures
of the lives they're making.

It is not so much
the mothers who
do these things, no,
they are preoccupied with
toddlers and diapers woven
on someone else's loom.

The inventions and the art
come all the more often from
busy, useful, independent spinsters.

They gather in someone's sitting room
to spin and weave, knit and crochet,
sew and quilt, making marvels out of fluff,

out of each other, out of themselves.

* * *

Notes:

"I put in my list all the busy, useful independent spinsters I know, for liberty is a better husband than love to many of us."
-- Louisa May Alcott

A spinster is a single woman.

Studies show that unmarried women tend to be healthier, happier, and more successful than married women.
Tags: crafts, cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, gender studies, history, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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