Thursday, May 02, 2024

In The Pink

 —Artwork by Lily Prigioniero
* * *

—Poetry by Stephen Kingsnorth,
Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales
—Public Domain Visuals Courtesy
of Stephen Kingsnorth

Sheer delight, in this warm light,
mother sewing, needles, hems,
just as grandma, whirling wheel,
humming with her Singer twirl.

And back before, treadle machine,
there’s great grandmother, from her prime—
even when her mind so far gone—
the tailoress, pin money girl,
cottage, mushroom, redarning socks.

Dancing reels for her tartan plaid,
jigging, jogging, relayed thread,
bobbin’, weavin’, spool outplayed,
rainbows woven in my dreams.

She dressed us all, the curtain, door,
both winter lined and summer, fall,
with gathered swags, and altered cloths,
those kneelers, falls and all for church,
that holy linen soon made whole.

We watched spellbound, as damascene,
circulating, patterns shared,
legs akimbo, statuesque,
pins and needles, blood returned.
Pincushions scattered, by design,
of hedgehog silver and wristband,
some jamming thrums note machine stuck,
we, she in stitches, seamstress trained,
yet time for chuckles, sowing jokes.


A playful, teasing, archly way
to challenge what we took for grant;
the only dark is light in fact,
for hanging shade hints deadly night,
as pupils led from here to end,
from start, this stranger startle path.

My mother hemmed, used pinking shears—
sheep closely shorn are pinked, NZ—
so always learn—those pupils fed—
for verse has taught this old new tricks,
though master none, but jack of all,
I’ll trade until the winds die down.

A simple graphic to design,
with range of hex by code defined,
though nature’s labels fix their stamp,
carnation, coral, fuchsia, rose,
flamingo—reflects what they eat—
or salmon, shock, blush, bubble gum?

The nearer roof, though it alone
shows pixilated, mottled touch,
some stippled artwork of a sponge,
though first evade force drawn to end,
the journey valued, mere the goal,
search cranny, chink, crack, crevice, niche.

The pastel pinks portray perchance
a setting where the sun shines bright,
an interplay, perspective’s dance,
this colonnade, a narrow path.
But pay no heed, dread nearly there;
bled, drained, as is red shed from son.



We really should have read the signs:
the glass paned door, like afterthought,
the rare-used tarmac covered path
the corridor from A to B,
for those intent on getting there.

The Sister took us,
a warder to defend her cause,
too much gabble, knowing all,
compassion as a gossamer.

We lapped it up as puppies might,
for She was god-like, trusted here,
and we of other disciplines,
not rude enough as others, right.

Mum gobbled at our offered sponge,
her blistered tongue dehydrate clue,
but, unattuned to obvious,
we trusted Trust, as taught to do,
for She mature, blue uniformed.

I dare not let my mind go there—
this verse creeps twenty five years on—
that dark place where our mother’s care
was in the hands of hurried staff,
the nurse we should have harried there—
removed her from those clutches, dare
to bring her home with us, there, then.

We look back, incredulity,
but no one questioned medics then;
though shocked, but trained in courtesy,
we left, her at their mercy, there.
A curse which I have borne since then.
 Kakaso'Las Totem Pole
by Ellen Neel (Canada), 1955
—Photo by Ymblanter, CC BY-SA 4.0 
via Wikimedia Commons


Here’s cupid heart cut into bark,
the timber frame for barque or home;
first nations carved their story too—
an ancestry, family tree.
Algonquian wood, totemic stood.
While others kneel at altar steps
and would alter inheritance,
they stand to ban native device
though fail to understand the craft,
or storeyed picture book of past.
Dust to dust but ash to pole,
for funerary casket cache,
a welcome sign or ridicule,
pot-boilers in the tourist trade,
community, kinship support.
Neel before all with female skill.
You see the wood before the trees.


With forearms, bicep, metal ringed,
tradition cast in women’s lives;
those hands, a language of their own,
an index, if the tongue not known.
I see a limp, agreeing sign,
another, lips, surprising self,
and other, slipping scarf to face,
the elder, palm spread, stating case.

I think the older lays out jest,
tale at expense of men as kind,
the male as figure, mocked behalf,
consenting, knowing, ribald laugh.
It’s not a matter for the young,
the theme and lingo quite beyond,
but gender strong, not monochrome,
say here what can’t be said at home.

They know the strength in letting think—
their menfolk—have control of things;
but they know better, learned at knee,
inherent power in subtlety.
Their vocab, like the colours, spice,
that masculine, inadequate,
their laud, not masters, any day,
but easier should think that way.

Today’s LittleNip:

—Stephen Kingsnorth

As even breeze moves parachutes,
copters spiral down from trees
tidings washing palm nut rafts—
long live the dead, unison,
for cycled seed renews itself.
Kernels wherein gene life celled,
core of morrow’s growth restored—
sun up; now is swell.


—Medusa, with thanks to Stephen Kingsnorth for his fine poetry today, most of which is based on the accompanying photos~
 —Public Domain Illustration

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