Friday, January 11, 2013

Poetry Friday: This Quilt

I wrote this poem in 2011. Back then, everything I wrote turned out to be about the earthquake, whether I intended it or not. This poem is no exception. I chose it for today because during this weekend's three year anniversary of the earthquake, I want to focus on how the love and support and comfort of friends and family got me through those horrible days.


This Quilt

Ladies in southern Indiana made this quilt.
It's not the fancy kind you'd buy in a store.
It's the kind made from real scraps,
Somebody's apron and somebody's shirt and somebody's pants
All stitched together on Thursday nights at the Sewing Circle
To send to the missionaries.

This quilt sat in the provision closet in the mission headquarters
Until a mother chose it to keep her tow-headed children warm
On winter nights in Tokyo
And when I married one of her boys, this quilt became mine.

This quilt warmed me as I slept.
Stretched out on the floor
It gave my babies a soft place to play.
A fat, healthy Haitian baby played on it too
And this quilt hung many times on my Caribbean clothesline
And faded lazily in the sun.

Somebody's Sunday dress from Indiana
Chopped up into squares
Shook gently over sleeping children in Japanese earthquakes,
So commonplace that no one even woke.

Somebody's child's school skirt
Cushioned sleepers in my courtyard
After a Haitian earthquake chased everyone out from under a concrete roof.

Ladies in southern Indiana never knew
As their conversation meandered
Over the colorful fabric in their laps
Where this quilt would go
And what wordless comfort it would bring
In places they would never see.

Ruth, from thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com


Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup, at No Water River.

11 comments:

Janet said...

This brings tears. Wonderful, Ruth. Perfect to mark this anniversary, too.

Vivian Dersu said...

Ruth -- this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Linda at teacherdance said...

It's beautiful, Ruth. I think it would be great to send to some of the missionary groups. I imagine they would love to share it in one of their magazines. Thank you for sharing. Although comforting, I imagine it brings back those tough days, too.

jama said...

Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful poem, Ruth -- so heartfelt and poignant.

SW said...

Just love the poem (and that blanket!) You have, for the longest time, been my favorite poet! Love you lots.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Such a touching, thought-provoking poem...excellent, Ruth.

Bridget Magee said...

Thank you for giving a time and a place and a face to a quilt that was:

"All stitched together on Thursday nights at the Sewing Circle
To send to the missionaries."

A very moving poem...bravo!

Renee LaTulippe said...

What a stunning poem, Ruth, itself a rich tapestry of images and emotion. Beautiful.

Mary Lee said...

I hope this anniversary is bringing happiness or something like it to you and to Haiti.

Steve Peterson said...

What a beautiful poem, Ruth.

"Ladies in southern Indiana never knew
As their conversation meandered
Over the colorful fabric in their laps
Where this quilt would go"

No one knows where their words (or their actions) will end up, or who they will touch. I'm very fortunate to have been in a place to have been touched by these words.

Thank you.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

A circle of love and comfort - that is what your story reminded me of. How marvelous that this quilt has traveled so far and comforted so many. Thank you for sharing this, Ruth.