The Lost Art of Darning

Mother Mending

Mother Mending

Barn at winter’s half-light
and summer’s long shade
Time labors over textures
of her lavish brocade
Warp and woof, warp and weft*.

Generations of seasons
plough fertile tracks
Crisscrossing grids of filaments–
cotton, wool and flax
Warp and woof, warp and weft.

Shoot, gut and smoke it;
Pluck, pare and poach it–
Poultry, pork, and venison;
Peach, plum, quince, and applesauce
Warp and woof, warp and weft.

Schoolhouse instruction,
college and vocation
It’s the making of respected fashion,
until her salvation.
Quotes she:
“He can view the pattern
upon the upper side
While I can see it only
on this, the underside.”**

Girl meets God. Boy meets girl.
Spun gold in virgin blues and purple
Warp and woof, warp and weft.

Knots are tied; ties are broken.
The pattern, incarnate, takes to the ocean.
Beauty and truth–the warp and weft.

Seasons quietly repeat themselves
to no applause or admiring gasp
While her guided hand is on the distaff
and skilled fingers on the shaft.
Warp and woof, warp and weft.

Aproned and exhausted,
she eats no bread of idleness
But washes filthy feet
in the art of darning
and hidden acts of righteousness.
Warp and woof, warp and weft.

Warp and woof, warp and weft
Like sprouting crops in gritty rows
Browny-black and greeny-gray
Crusted with sweat and reckless play
Piles of denim, frocks and random socks
Worn and torn with living hard
Distorted order, beauty marred.

Finger ringed in promise
and pardoning love
Guides and persistently prods
Warp and woof, warp and weft,
The piercing point
mending moments of regret
While pursed lips and measured words
Kiss and correct, advise and respect.

Worn, vein-streaked hands grip the rip
And repeatedly repair tomorrow’s gifts
that we will wear.
…Thus a devoted heart
served with conviction
and darned to extinction.

“Charm is deceptive
and beauty just a breath,
but a woman who reveres the Lord—
she will be praised.”
Prov 31:30

*terms used in weaving for the horizontal and vertical threads
**Benjamin Franklin


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