Saturday, March 2, 2013

Rumination on Sewing and Poetry

Hello out there internet world!

I have started school, and it is pretty fabulous.  I am once again a student.  Sitting in those little desks again is great, but a little disconcerting. It takes me back to my early 20's, going to school in Minnesota, studying theatre, and life. Being in class makes me feel like I am 20 again but I am such a different person. It is also a little odd to be older than some of your professors. One of them is 24!!

I am taking a creative writing class, a literary theory class and an intro to poetry class, and so I have been reading a lot more and sewing a lot less. I have a blouse half finished waiting on my ironing board. Maybe I will get to it after I finish the paper that is due on Monday. Or maybe I will get to it after I finish the poem that is due Tuesday...

For my creative writing class, the first assignment was to write an ode poem. An ode is a poem in praise of something. Well what do I love? My Bernina 1008. She is such a beauty. I received her as a gift from my grandparents when I graduated High School and she has traveled from Arizona, to Minnesota, through all the states on the east coast, and now finally she is here in Astoria with me. I love her. I even got her a brother, another Bernina 1008, purchase on eBay for $350 (a steal).  But the funny thing was that when I started to write the ode to my sewing machine, I suddenly became very self conscious of my hobby/passion being very old fashioned and un-femisist-y. I know that there are so many of us who love sewing, who love spending time in our own little spaces, making beautiful things for ourselves or others. And I also know that is is not just the utilitarian aspect of sewing that we love, it is also the problem solving, the struggle to create something 3 dimensional out of something 2 dimensional.  My brain feels good when I have to figure out how to make a pattern work, or when I draft a pattern myself, or calculate the circumference of a circle or do fraction math to figure out seam allowances.
What is un-feminist-y about that?

Well, the ode didn't get very far. I am still going to try to hash it out and I will let you know my progress, if there ever is any. But in the mean time, I found this little poem about sewing.  Not super positive about sewing but lyrically it is beautiful.

The Lady With The Sewing-Machine by Dame Edith Sitwell

Across the fields as green as spinach,
Cropped as close as Time to Greenwich,

Stands a high house; if at all,
Spring comes like a Paisley Shawl-

Patternings meticulous 
And youthfully ridiculous.

In each room the yellow sun 
Shakes like a canary, run

On run, roulade, and watery trill -
Yellow, meaningless, and shrill.

Face as white as any clock's,
Cased in parsley-dark curled locks -

All day long you sit and sew,
Stitch life down for fear it grow,

Stitch life down for fear we guess
At the hidden ugliness.

Dusty voice that throbs with heat,
Hoping with your steel-thin beat

To put stitches in my mind,
Make it tidy, make it kind,

You shall not: I'll keep it free
Though you turn earth, sky and sea

To a patchwork quilt to keep
Your mind snug and warm in sleep!


1 comment:

  1. I grew up in Minnesota too- a great state to get your start in. I still miss the trees and all.that.water.