Sunday, May 17, 2015


This is another view of the sewing machine I found around the corner at a garage sale. 
I asked the sellers about the woman who owned it. It was a great story about an immigrant 
who used this very treadle machine to tailor men's suits! I have barely 
been able to do some mending on it, but I have used it!

This is a link to the post about Marie's sewing machine.

And here is the poem that reminded me about my machine.


In the sewing room
the mail-order Singer
with its chrome-rimmed
wheel and gleaming needle
was turned under
to make a desk while
mother started dinner.

I faced west where
the window shimmered.
For an hour I rehearsed
my letters, spelling
everything visible-
zipper and scissors,
thimbles and spools.
The oval mirror made
the wallpaper zinnias
flower still further,
and a mantel clock
held the minutes back.

The Eagle pencil
in my cramped hand
scratched fishhook
j or an i like a needle.
Late sunlight glazed
the holly leaves silver
beyond the peeling sill.
While I squinted hard
at the Blue Horse paper,
the twilight world
held perfectly still.

When I was finished,
each curve and flourish
set in disciplined rows,
fresh tea with ice
appeared at my elbow,
the yellow c of lemon
in the tumbler's perfect o,
and if mother had praise for what I had done,
I would shine all evening
bright as a straight pin,
while the new moon
with its careless serifs
cleared the trees and rose.

R. T. Smith

In the Night Orchard; New & Selected Poems by R. T. Smith,Texas Review Press, Huntsville, TX, 2014, pages 94-95.

This is an example of one of my favorite kinds of poems. This is perhaps because I have many things to remember that are from ordinary daily lives that are gone now. The details in this poem are GREAT! Your task: write a poem with concrete details of a room in your childhood home.

And look, from practicing all those letters, now he is a poet!

No comments:

Post a Comment