Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Woman's Day - A poem from the past

As today is International Woman's Day, I decided to post this poem about a woman whom I had the utmost admiration and love for.  The poem was written shortly after my Mother-in -law passed away from a difficult and painful condition, and today seemed like a good day to honour her.

Plus as a woman who still darned socks,  she would get a great kick out of the name of this blog!

The woman who still darned socks

I heard a creature cry down a phone line,
then later the shake of her daughter’s head
that said the pain was still there
to warp, rage and battle against all humanity could bear.

A moment’s respite when sleep came,
when breathing eased with rhythms of comfort,
false teeth hung, worn skin nestled,
a body torn, bruised, stitched and swollen.

No doctor, hospital, death could wane,
a glory which lay and stood triumphant,
painted on the faces of her sons, a daughter, and a man; her husband,
painted on those that knew her for what she was,
laced, threaded, within their bones and memory.

She poured hot kettles on four colours of jelly last Christmas morn,
surrounded by trinkets, thimbles, ornaments within cabinets,
and smiled as she hemmed the final piece of a jig-sawed blue sky,
gently into place.

The happy lady sewing up her dress for the wedding of her eldest son,
the man I married,
who wants to kick every table and chair in every room, out of anger and love,
that she’s being taken, that she’s being pained.

‘I want to go home,’ she said,
her fingers intermingled with mine, soft but firm.
I knew she meant it, for she wanted to wrap me in that need,
so we could go together and I would take her to the place she most wanted to be.

‘I know,’ I said.
An acknowledgement which crossed oceans, lulled all sounds,
the ding and bang of a hospital ward, a loud telly in the corner,
muffles of a crowd; the bleep from some damned machine.
‘I know,’ I said.  It was all I had.

The woman who still darned socks,
she thought me an odd girl studying history,
what was she to make of me?
It never clouded her.

We had such joy, she and I.
We laughed, we lived,
We sat and spoke about the simple things,
woman to woman.

Thank you for being a great woman, and a great friend.


  1. Ah, such a moving poem. I saw every scene, everyone you described. I have goosebumps, particularly due to something my mother said to my husband and me in her final two weeks in 2000. With delight at the thought, and a good degree of salesmanship, she said, "Let's all go together!"

    Beautiful tribute for International Women's Day...I only realized it was that day when visiting another blog a few minutes ago.

  2. Exceptionally moving, a really quite remarkable poem. The sort that only comes along once in a very long while.

  3. I completely agree with Dave; an exceptional and remarkable woman, and a poem that does her justice.

  4. I love this poem - great work.

  5. Lovely tribute to your mother-in-law. I'm glad that we WERE able to take my mom home in her last months. I wrote a poem about her last night - completely missing that it was international woman's day today :)

  6. Thanks David and thanks Bug, maybe your Mom knew it was International Woman's Day, even if you didn't.

  7. Oh my God.. this really brought tears to my eyes, my dear.. beautiful! There are some emotions that can be perfectly shared only between 2 women.. those emotions can't even be described clearly.. but you've done it so so beautifully here...

    A very happy and blessed women's day to you!!

  8. Heartfelt Words....


    you placed your email in the link spot, which blocked us from visiting you, fixed now,

    Happy Wednesday.

  9. Oh what a beautiful poem and woman, and it these woman who show us what life really is, love, love and more love...and we miss them when they go....thank you...what a lovely site you have here...bkm

  10. Great poem and tribute! I am glad I found you!

  11. Greetings!

    Thanks for the lovely contribution to potluck on week 25,

    week 26 is open NOW, we treasury your poetry

    And hope to see you in shortly…old poems are welcome!



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