A dear friend from Pittsburgh is visiting this weekend, and she's a fantastic (seriously amazing) quilter and we talked forever last night about the quilts she made for my wedding and for Molly, and about a memory quilt she's going to make from my mom's clothes.
She was so excited to see how much attention and love the art of quilting gets here in West Virginia. We're going to try to look at some shops and places today to see what we can do to show off the beautiful artisan culture in Charleston.
So while we were talking, Shane was texting me updates about the FBI capturing the Boston bombing suspect and I was feeling this huge disconnection between the intimate quiet of catching up with friends and knowing the terrifying worry and grief happening elsewhere. This morning I'm thinking of the old, safe-feeling insulated feeling I have about WV and the comfort of quilts reflecting that... I planned to write about hearing scary, sad news from a big city while here in a smaller place but it became more of my life story so either it'll be a thousand page epic or there will be another poem for Boston. There's also a strong meter that accidentally started happening so it may get edited into a more formal structure. I won't have time to write later, so this long poem-embryo is my offering for the day in my Poeming Into the Now workshop.
Have a good day with loved ones in your big city or your little village or your ranch. May you feel the peace and comfort of a three-generations old quilt over your shoulders.
When I was small I imagined us living in a bowl.
The sky above was open and fresh, but all around
me, everywhere I went, mountains rose on all sides,
round and green and protective with the presence of a mother.
In my tiny town, houses were close in modest, square
yards laid out in flat, safe grids.
Downtown, intimate shops clung and fit snug
against each other along Capitol Street,
but always were the mountains surrounding.
Always the mountains and hills to say home is with you
always and I will be here.
And every grandmother's mother pieced quilts
in small homes nestled deep in those hills. Threads
and fabrics bound families in circles and squares
all enveloped by hills. Buffered we learned in
geography class, the mountains protect
from tornadoes we saw in the movies.
Barrier against killing winds and far away
from the wild wide open of ocean or
the dizzying flat of big sky country, we live
our safe lives in the always embrace of the hills.
When I was a woman girl, I fled the square town
and I went to the city, where downtown the buildings
loomed high like my mountains. Shadows were
constant, and cold there but warmth found me
there, too, in the home of a friend. She made dinner
while we talked, like my mom only vegan, and when I
went home she sent tofu and letters. Comforted
then, I was safe in my little squared town and in blankets
I let the home heal me. And life here was new then,
and the rocks in the river renewed me and white water
sent me a lover. When we were married my girl from the
city brought us a quilt she had made for our wedding.
Beautiful and cozy with inside out seams she had captured
the newness of homecoming love. We were wed in a valley
with green all around us, and leaves in my hair and
our feet in the grass.