Thursday, January 30, 2014


Dear friends. An old fashioned day calls for an old fashioned poem–what reminds me of my dear mother and grandmother who used to crochet lace–now nearly a lost art.  This poem is a ballad about life.

Helene Smith©2004

It was just an old piece of lace,
Attached to a dirty old rag;   
A workman had left behind
Women’s labor, a cultural lag.

Stained now with axle grease
“Turpentined” to clean off a brush.  
The man who had used it,
Threw it out in a rush.

A forgotten masterpiece
In whole or twisted in part,  
What caring hands created,
Once a fine piece of art.

Perhaps in few precious moments,
Between caring for children so,
Some woman with feeling for design,
Had created it row after row.

Wishful dreams and hopes
For children yet to be,
Or in resignation, hands caring
For others’ offspring at her knee.

Fancy work, men used to say,
Years ago with women working at home, 
Putting in time, a strange quirk,
More like a legacy and a poem.

A nurturing soul of her own
Under our one and only sun,
Time so valuable to women, 
A life of getting so much done.

Giving rise to “domestic activity”
In the order of each day.
“Frivolous, superfluous, unessential,”
To make the hours go fast, each day.

But for the feminine mind
It was much more than that.
Gentle men fail not to notice,
She wore many a fancy hat.

Now only an old memory
Of time and space,
Someone’s so-called handy work,
Manifold in lace.

Within a dominant masculine world
Among all things that bind,
Lies a feminine mystique,
Needle-work of every kind.

All dreams and wishes, with
Hands holding threads so tight,
Crocheting stories as toddlers listen,
Mystic motion, a splendid sight.

Unaware of ancient intrigue, young minds
Knew not the past and what was said.
Their marvel was in networks,
Fingers weaving a spider’s web.

Interlacing complex threads
In enigmatic confusion, to children
Beauty and wonder of life,
Wound together in one illusion.

Eternal wisdom and fantasy,
A whole cosmos conceived in grace,
Behold old stained and frayed thin strands,
In gossamer, an old piece of lace.