A Poem for My Mother

A Poem for My Mother

momgetting kissed  My sister and I giving Mom a big kiss . . . miss her!

 

 

My Mother Taught Me to Quilt

(for Evelyn Crum, master quilter, 1933-2008)

 

 

My mother taught me to quilt—

how to measure width and length,

how to find shades of a rainy day,

or the hue of a child’s trust.

I watched as she patched each day’s pieces

into a kaleidoscopic whole.

And she always saved the scraps.

 

She taught me to ease dissonance

into harmonies of pattern, and to blind stitch.

She tugged, and I saw that the straight grain was strong.

But she said I must learn to work with bias,

for there are days when fabric needs to stretch.

 

I studied how she smoothed the layers—

how she rocked her needle, hand-stitching

it all to a strong back. And finally,

how she held me bundled in her patchwork.

 

Now, on rainy days

I walk out into the wet grass and collect

my colors–the impatient greens, the heart-deep browns,

the glistening grays, and the fresh-washed blue of a forget-me-not.

 

I measure. I cut. I rock my needle.

I bind my raw edges.

 

Mom and her quilts.

 

 

Shutta, revised 2013 (First published;  AACR2, 2010)

 

About Shutta

Shutta Crum writes picture books for children, novels for teens and poetry for adults. She is also a storyteller, a public speaker and a librarian. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, and her articles about teaching and writing have appeared in many professional journals. In 2005, she was honored by being one of eight authors invited to the White House for the Easter Egg Roll. In 2010 she was invited to tour American military base schools across Japan. Her latest book is DOZENS OF COUSINS (Clarion). It has garnered glowing reviews. And her book, MINE! (Alfred A. Knopf) was noted by the New York Times as one of the best board books of the year.

5 Responses

  1. My mother was busy with teaching, so my two grandmothers taught me all these skills.

    As a young child I noticed how they each took their freshly baked cookies off cookie sheets. One very carefully lifted each cookie off and laid it gently down to cool. The other ,stood the whole metal tray up on end, and “SWOOSH”, all cookies came off in one strong swift swing of the spatula.

    But, when it came to sewing, they stood as one in teaching their techniques.
    I had to take out a velvet seam five (5) times, because the ‘darts’ didn’t match up!!!
    Learned much from that.

    These skills our younger generations will never know, as their believe their hands should now hold ipods and the like, yet I still hope to teach them how to tie a proper knot for times of emergencies.

    Happy Mother’s Day to you, Shutta.

  2. Fantastic poem! Loved it. So true. Moms are wonderful–all our lives and forever after!