Wednesday, July 20, 2011

If you buy the raspberry-coloured hand-knitted cardigan and unpick it

Advice to Jennifer Compton from my Mum

Wind the wool
around a wide
piece of plastic
or something
which won’t
change the colour.
Wash carefully
in warm water
and soapsuds.

Rinse carefully –
still on the 'bobbin' –    
and dry.

It will lose its wrinkles.
Wool is very forgiving.

Pity it doesn’t fit as it is.

                                  Mary McCallum

In response to Jen Compton's poem posted yesterday, I had an email from my Mum. She hadn't noticed Jen's name and thought I'd written the poem. This is the email almost word for word including the title - with one or two deletions for flow - so it is, in effect, a 'found poem'. 

I can't believe how perfect the language is! The 'w' sounds in the first stanza evoking the warmth of wool and the business of winding it on the 'bobbin', the repetition of 'carefully' and the tenderness in the handling of the wool as if it's a live thing. Then the penultimate lines and-  it seems - the live thing is old, it will 'lose its wrinkles', and more: there are the  connotations of the wool being 'forgiving' - in effect forgiving Jen for unpicking it. 

And oh the pity that it doesn't fit as it is - the pity for the knitter and for the cardigan - and here are those 'i' sounds in the final line which sound to me like the smallness of 'pity' and also evoke 'knitting' - the word itself and the click of the needles. 

Lovely! Thanks Mum. (Do read Jen's poem first to get the full effect of this one.) 


Saradha said...

That is so lovely! What a wonderful response!

susan t. landry said...

so cool, mary and mary's mum!

Jennifer Compton said...

as cool as cool -just great

susan t. landry said...

and jennifer, your wonderful poem started the ball rolling, or the sweater unraveling...!

KAT ADL'S said...

So cool! I like...I just bought my mum an old patch work blanket to unravel to make crochet flowers..I like the idea of new life from old