Thursday, August 21, 2008

Grandmother's Quilt

Many fragments compose this masterpiece
Stitched with the heartstrings that skip a generation
Recognized by all who can see the intricacies
Of a far-sighted mind.

Here is a piece of Arbutus’ communion gown,
attached to a remnant of Uncle Virgil’s wedding suit
hinted with the lipstick of Aunt Rachel.
A green linen square revives Willard, another uncle
Killed in Vietnam though kept alive within his mother’s heart.

A tiny segment included from grandmother’s apron
Worn thin by celebratory feasts and stained with blackberry juice
Berries that were grown to pay the mortgage
The tattered square somehow sparks visions
Of pancakes and dark King syrup.

This embroidered heart shows me the love
I knew so long ago from a grandmother that held me in her arms
And wept as I was taken away to foster care,
Allowed nothing but a few clothes and this quilt around my shoulders.
The product of a bitter parent dealt an unfulfilled life.

This masterpiece tells a story that will withstand time
Of love and family, of childhood.
Representing the ties that bind through generations.
I remember, grandmother remembered…she knew
I would return to her someday when I was ready.

She is gone and with her went my childhood,
I am grateful she gave me a past and a history.
My children look bewildered as I sit crying
fingering grandmother's quilt, remembering.


Shirley Stewart Burns, Ph.D. said...

This, too, is beautiful! Who knew what a wonderful poet you were! Hiding your light under a bushel.

Lindah said...

Oh my, the stories some quilts could tell! And that is why I quilt. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and poignant poem. And yet, the words "beautiful and poignant" are not enough to describe the impact of your words.

Granny Sue said...

Matthew, this is a strong poem. Good work.

Bubbasgotgas said...

What a great poem, very powerful.

Tipper said...

Beautiful poem-you caught the reason I love those old quilts that were made with pieces of clothing. They were like a piece of history. The few quilts I have made by my Mamaw and by my great grandmother-I still wonder where each piece of fabric came from-you know whose old dress or shirt.