The Peaceful Kingdom

Honest! See! I was just..........tasting him.


Old and New

Dear Gwen,

Thanks for the fun posting. You and Dad seem to share an ability to turn a phrase. My favorites are the limericks in which you two trade lines. Who would have guessed at some of the words that now rhyme in Rudy style.
I found these handkerchiefs at a secondhand shop in Cumberland. They are machine embroidered on an incredibly fine cotton weave. I am trying to decide how the fabric was stabilized to allow this much stitching in one area. I have no clue as to where these were made. They will remain a pretty mystery.

Do you remember the smock that Grandma R. made for you when you were a little girl. It was off white with maroon flowers and trim. You wore it whenever your clothes needed protection. This is the newest version for the 21st century girl.There is plenty of room to grow into it. One of the first things she did was to test the pocket capacity by loading it up with toys. At that point walking was more challenging. We used yours many times as a cover-up at the kitchen counter as you helped with the baking . Your smock shows the remnants of past projects, displaying paint and marker spots. Your crafting days started at a young age.
Love, Mom


We can produce our Poetic Liscenses upon request.

Hi Mom,

I don't think you'll mind if we (Prairie Lark) participate in the silent poetry fest that is forming today, do you? It's been a poetry-filled day already for me (I brought Gerard Manley Hopkins' "Pied Beauty" in to my class today), but I'd like to highlight some of our homegrown poetry here, since we are a poetry-writing family.

I've dug out a few textile-related poems from the family archive. The first is a very good example of found writing transformed. Let me set the stage:

The original post-it note, penned by you, read:

Sweater in Sink

Cryptic and short. I'm unsure what you meant. Were you washing a sweater in the utility sink downstairs? Did you need to put a sweater in the sink? At some point Dad added to your brief domestic missive with swift, sure strokes of the pen, changing it into this:

One day, while reaching for a drink,
There fell a Sweater in Sink -
downstairs ran I to rescue it,
only to find it fell in RIT.
The moral is that oft from DRINK,
a careless person can DYE in the sink!

This playful intertextuality can also be seen in this more recent poem, as well. Here Dad takes as his departure point the lines from an Emily Dickinson poem that I had up as an away message - Some little Artic Flower upon the polar hem.

Some little Artic flower, upon the polar hem
Tiny Inuit children went out to gather them.
With mukluks on and parkas snug
they ventured on the ice
For tiny frosty poseys
to make their igloos nice.

I will also share a poem of my own. Although the tone is a little different (partly because I was writing it for a class), it demonstrates the same basic modus operandi - take, and make something new and slightly different. One of the things that I liked best about the creative writing classes that I took is the way that they changed the way that I saw and experienced every day things - I felt like a more reflective person, like I was always looking for a way to understand or repackage what I was seeing. I think that that would be a neat goal for the things that we make, too - how is our handiwork the product of taking from here or there and remaking?

Swedish mitten

Traveling myself, the immigrant chest
in the corner seems so epic
compared to the small bag I carry.
On the wall of the guest bedroom,
One mitten hangs from the frame of a
Wedding picture. The bride smiles,
Alone and confident,
enveloped in a cloud of bright white lace,
a necklace of large pearls round her neck
and lace gloves on her folded hands.
The mitten too is white, the creamy white
of wool newly shorn, embroidered
with stylized flowers, leaves.
Mitten, where is your other half?
Was it lost before the trip began,
or was it caught, yarn pulling, stitches ripping
on the rough hewn bottom of that painted chest?

Happy reading, and happy Friday.

Love, Gwen