Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday December 6, 2010 Big Tent Poetry/And What I Saw Sunday

My write was inspired by Referential Magazine, Self Portrait as Fake Saint with a wheel

Woman's Work

I remember a little wheel with teeth,
Found in my Mother's sewing box,
A box bound with a blue ribbon,
Magical tools, for marking and measuring,
Sharp shiny scissors, and needles and pins.
Endless spools of colorful thread.

In time I learned to sew,
But never as well as my Mother,
Or Grandmother who's tiny
Stitches were admired and envied.

I remember the patterns
She would purchase at the store.
They came in a large envelope,
The picture of the finished
Garment on the front,
She would carefully extract the patterns,
Printed on thin tissue paper,
The color yellow ocher,
Easily torn.

The pattern once cut out,
Was pinned to the fabric,
Which was cut out,
And carefully sew,
Into the desired garment.
Something for everyone.

In those days,
And for some years after,
Each home was a mini-factory.
Each house had a garden,
And maybe chickens.

Just a few years earlier,
People who lived in the city,
But spent the summer on the bay,
Would have the "help'"
Walk the milk-cow down,
Some thirty miles.
To enjoy the cool bay breezes.
For it was long before air conditioners.

The milk-man still made his rounds,
As well as the lecherous ice-man,
Who delivered blocks of dripping ice,
Giving small chunks to
Laughing children in the neighborhood.

And women often worked together,
To preserve and can food at harvest,
Women still made quilts,
And young women
Filled their "hope chests,"
With fancy needlework,
They read etiquette books,
Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette.
In those days no one wanted to be incorrect.
Just the perfect gossip across the fence,
Who did what - when.

Thou times have changed,
I'm sure, it still holds true,
No one wants to be incorrect.
But who has time?
And where has time gone?
Both men and women work,
And pursue careers,
Raise families,
Everything is on the fly.

In the days of my Mother and my Grandmother,
Women worked hard,
But the jobs were at home,
A woman's interest was her garden,
Her home and her family.

Today women still work hard,
And they have no time for
The frivolous activities,*
Of my ancestors.

*Characterized by insincerity, irony, or whimsical exaggeration = tongue-in-cheek.


Giants In Winter
Skeletons of giants,
Dot the landscape,
Dressed in gray,
Just a short time ago,
You were full and lush,
Now you are no refuge,
For winged travelers.
All is exposed.


fiveloaf said...

these are life's moments that you made me recall and that's sweet! here's mine-

Elizabeth said...

Annell, although I enjoyed your memories and the thoughts they occasioned for you, as well as for myself, I absolutely love the second poem. You are the Bone Woman, singing over the bones, putting flesh back on them, bringing them back to life. Incredible, and congratulations,


jessicasjapes said...

Are those things in the past really 'frivolous'? looking after a family was surely important? Loved your theme here and a point well made.

vivinfrance said...

I agree with Jessica: homemaking is an art, and hardly frivolous! I made all my children's clothes, and some for grandchildren, but they prefer my quilty things nowadays: I'm too old to be 'cool'.
I also loved your second poem - my preferred season for trees is when you can see the skeleton and the overall shape.

Jingle said...

times do change, but our passion 4 life remains,

Thanks for linking...


Marilyn said...

The first piece really spoke to me, reminded me of when my sister and I would play with my grandmother's sewing box still containing bits and pieces of her mother's. Wonderful treasures speaking of times gone by.
Your second piece I love too, I love trees in their winter nakedness - boldly, proudly -showing their skeletal beauty to all ...waiting until they step into their new season garments of the finest sheer silk, garments with transparent brilliance.

Beachanny said...

Annell - I knew those times and sans garden still do those things, my daughter sews and tends and would love to garden. Work has driven her out of the home she loves and she mourns the loss as do her children who know this..perhaps one day we can return to home and hearth. Wishing you well. Excellent work as always, Gay @beachanny

kathew said...

Homemaking is truly an art and one that more of us are returning to. Lovely post.

SandyCarlson said...

I love your poem about your mother's sewing supplies. So like my mother's, grandmother's, great-grandmothers. Inheriting these, one generation after the next, has been a great treasure for each generation. My daughter marvels at the strange tools in my basket even as I teach her to use them.

Beautiful poems.

layers said...

Hi Annell. I have been away from the blog world for awhile now-- with my trip to Hawaii and then home to snow and Thanksgiving and now xmas shopping and decorating- trying to get a little caught up.. your poem is beautiful-with lovely memories of times past and how women have evolved and changed.. and love the little poem at the end about how trees change with the seasons.

Julie Jordan Scott said...

Oh, I love the vividness of your memory. I would love to have a quilting circle as a regular aspect of my life... ohhhhh, love....

My Friday Big Tent Post.

flaubert said...

You have brought back wonderful memories for me with this piece. I love your blog, nice and crispy clean.

Barbara said...

My mother did not sew, and I had to discover those arcane tools on my own

Tumblewords: said...

Beautiful reminder of how things used to be - I love this piece!

Wayne Pitchko said...

nicely done.....thanks for sharing this Annell

LKHarris-Kolp said...

Lovely words woven here!

Deb said...

A quilt of a wheel!