Weaving

A weaver, when she has prepared her loom,
Lifts and depresses threads using a comb,

A rigid heddle to help create a gap
And stop the cloth collapsing in her lap.

She knots and loops a rainbow of design
With different wools and silks, both thick and fine,

Depending on the outcome of it all:
A rug, a tapestry, a scarf or shawl.

Shifting the poetic shuttle with fingers deft,
We gather rhythmic warp and pick up the weft.

Kim M. Russell, 2017

Image result for paintings and illustrations of women at loom weaving

Image found on Pinterest

Today I am hosting Tuesday Poetics at the dVerse Poets Pub, for which I chose as inspiration two poems by the Irish poet Seamus Heaney. The challenge is to write a poem about an artisan or wright, for example a weaver, thatcher, wheelwright or carpenter, or any other craftsman we can think of. It can be a real person or a fictional person, but we must emulate the form and/or style of one of the Heaney poems.

I have emulated the second poem, ‘Scaffolding’ in my own version about weaving.

Scaffolding

 Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.

And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me

Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.

By Seamus Heaney

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36 thoughts on “Weaving

    1. The Worstead Weavers have a workshop attached to the village hall opposite our house and I am planning on joining them. Worstead is the next village to ours and is famous for its history of weaving and its special cloth.

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  1. What a terrific idea for a prompt. Your weaver piece is lovely, subtle rhymes & rife with weaverspeak. I sat for a time & let the muses tumble about, before they brought me a hand-made wooden bowl.

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  2. This is my favorite part:

    Shifting the poetic shuttle with fingers deft,
    We gather rhythmic warp and pick up the weft.

    Love the rhyming verses Kim ~ You made me remember my grandmother’s hands ~ Thank you ~

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    1. There are many things that remind us of our grandmothers – mine didn’t weave but she was a seamstress and a genius with a sewing machine or needle. I was telling Bjorn about the Worstead Weavers who have resurrected the Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers that originated in Worstead, the next village on from ours. The village became very prosperous in the twelfth century when weavers from Flanders arrived in the area. They had been encouraged to settle in Norfolk by King Edward III of England who had married a Flemish princess. Worsted cloth derives its name from this weaving heritage. The guild has a workshop in our village hall, just over the road from our house; they meet once a week and give classes, which I’m thinking of joining.

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  3. My mother in law weaves beautiful cloth and I have watched her work…I love the sound of it all and your phrase ‘We gather rhythmic warp and pick up the weft.’ sums it all up to a tee. Marvellous poem. Great prompt. Love Heany too.

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    1. Thank you Paul. As you may have read in previous comments, I’m keen to get weaving with the Worstead Weavers, who are right on my doorstep. David said it I do, then he will have no problem with birthday presents in the future! And, of course, if I learn to weave, I can make future presents for friends and family!

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  4. Your subject matter is nice. I have the same subject matter in my own poem for dVerse. Kindly let me encourage you to write with meter, or at least have the same number of stressed syllables in each line. Then the poem is readable.

    Anders

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    1. Thank you, Anders. I used to be strict with meter and then I took part in an on-line poetry school where they dissuaded me from doing that. I’m torn between doing what I like and doing what is expected of me. But I know where you are coming from and will have a second look at my poem. 🙂

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