In my second period class, my students are doing a pretty formal study of poetry, and to keep them from getting bogged down in the minutia and encourage their creativity I have them writing odes. We read Pablo Neruda's "Ode to Tomatoes" then I asked them to pick some thing or some place and sing its praises in such a way that made me want it in my life, too. I hate tomatoes, but reading Neruda's poem makes me want to sink my teeth in to one! They are going to get a wee bit of extra credit if they read theirs in front of the class, so I figured I would do one to to help break the ice. Great fun to write, though there is some tweaking I still might do. So, here it is!
Ode to My Sewing Table
Summer sun shines through the window
pouring light over the mess of possibility on my sewing table.
The shining, glimmering sides of my sewing machine encase
that beautifully crafted object, sitting silently now,
its needle poised and prepared,
the thread draped along its course, waiting to be used.
The machine sits nestled between piles of fabric.
A sunrise of color in reds of passion and greens of the trees,
thirsty blues of water and sky, yellows and oranges of the embracing sun,
breathing out vivid life,
colliding together to spill out their flowers, birds, and circles;
taunting the thread, daring
it to bind them together. Begging
to be used, sundered and spliced,
pulled into parts
to be made whole.
All of it singing in the afternoon sun
the siren song of creativity
The swishing rotary cutter
glides across and divides the fabric.
Yards become inches at the thrilling point when
there is no turning back.
The fabric explodes into hundreds of scraps and bits, slivers of color,
stray string shrapnel flies to stick in the carpet and cling to my clothes.
The smooth cuts bleed color
the hues and tones run together, swirl around each other
mingling, mixing, inspiring;
never losing their luster and identity
but blurring into each other;
building a horizon of new ideas.
The death of the cloth, but the birth of a hundred new things.
A flurry and symphony of rhythmic, thumping, humming themes and songs as the bits are joined.
The minutes marked by the steady click and fluid grace of needle and thread being drawn through fabric.
Time is bound into seams as the moments of the slowly fading afternoon are measured out
The labor progresses slowly,
contractions of the bending ankle,
the squeezing pedal,
then more quickly pieces come together,
the end rushes near and
with almost unexpected immediacy
that child of inspiration is born
in a moment of awe and joy.
I clip the last thread tying it to the machine.
I clean off the stray bits of string and unused cloth still clinging to it
and to me.
There is that beautiful child
of time, patience, and care.
Out of this place, in the fading sunlight,
a new thing was born of fabric and thread.
I carry it away,
and the machine sits silent again.
Dreaming of the next moment of creation,
while it sleeps in the moonlight.