Monday, April 21, 2008

Crocheting: An Original Poem

Aspiring writers are often admonished to write what they know. More than a dozen years ago I was inspired to write a collection of poems based on my own childhood experiences.

I spent many of my happiest days as a child at the home of my maternal grandparents. Babci, my grandmother, and Dzidzi, my grandfather, owned a small duplex in Peabody, Massachusetts. They lived close to the earth. They had a large vegetable garden behind the house. They had fruit trees on their property: apple, pear, cherry, and plum. There were all kinds of flowers growing in their yard, including lilacs, peonies, hydrangeas, and a giant sunflower. My grandfather tended the garden; my grandmother preserved the fruits and vegetables that weren't eaten fresh in mason jars.

Two of my first cousins lived on the other side of the duplex. The older of the two was my age; her sister was just a year younger. We cousins spent a lot of time together in my grandparents’ yard--especially during the summer. We’d help weed the garden, water the flowers, eat green apples and scallions, pick rhubarb. I’d ride my bike to my grandparents’ house and spend vacation days playing with my two cousins--who were also my best friends.

When Dzidzi, my mother’s father, passed away in 1984, it affected me deeply. Babci, my grandmother, died five years later. I wanted to save my childhood memories of times spent at their home on paper. In 1995, I began work on a collection of poems about me, my cousins, my grandparents, and the rest of my family. The poems take our family through a year at the home of my grandparents.

Here is one of the spring poems from my unpublished collection, A Home for the Seasons, which was written in memory of grandparents. The poem is about me and my cousins and my Babci.


CROCHETING
By Elaine Magliaro

The crowns of the blossoming fruit trees

are pink and white clouds.

We sit under the apple tree,

petals falling around us like spring snow.

Nearby Babci relaxes in the wide Adirondack chair

crocheting an earth-brown afghan

for our summertime picnics.

Her nimble fingers dance

as she hooks and loops

the dark yarn into intricate designs.

From a single strand

she creates a lacy island for us

where we will float

on a sea of soft green grass

near Dzidzi’s garden,

eating ham sandwiches,

crunching homemade pickles,

savoring our summer afternoons.


I posted another poem from this collection last September. You can read the poem, Autumn Fire, here.

12 comments:

Linda said...

Elaine,

I hope to see your collection published very soon. You are a talented writer.
Linda

Elaine Magliaro said...

Thank you, Linda. I hope you've seen the comment Janet Wong left about your ring/drum/blanket poem at your blog.

Linda said...

Yes, and it really made my day! I read so many wonderful poems, I often wonder if I have anything to contribute. Thank you so much for the poem challenges. I'm going to try to participate in Poetry Friday with an interview with Bobbi Katz.
Linda

Elaine Magliaro said...

Linda,

I'll be looking forward to that interview!

gail said...

What a wonderful childhood you must've had! Loved hearing about it. Lovely poem too!

gail

jules said...

That's beautiful. Are these ones you're considering for publication? The child/grandparent bond can be so strong. I love to find *good* picture books and children's poetry about it (some of them can be very bad). This is lovely.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Jules,

I did submit A HOME FOR THE SEASONS to two different publishers--who rejected it. The second publisher sent me a nice rejection letter in which she noted the things she liked about my collection. I plan to submit the manuscript again at some point.

jone aka msmac said...

I love this. I can savor this afternoon. I cannot wait for the collection to come out. You have inspired me once again.

Tricia said...

This was my grandmother, always crocheting, and most often in browns, oranges and yellows.
I get such a clear sense of those days with your grandparents in this poem. I can especially see you in the other poem, watching those leaves (and summer) go up in smoke.

Thanks, as always, for sharing.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Tricia,

Thanks for commenting on my poem. My childhood days spent at my grandparents' house are still vivid today. Christmas Eve was the most magical time of the year there.

ColoReader said...

I'm going to the linen closet right now, carefully unwrapping the crocheted items we've stored there from our moms and grandmothers - just to hold and remember! Thanks for the reminder.

Karen E. said...

This is really lovely, and conjures some great, vivid images. I wish my fingers could dance as nimbly as the ones you describe, but in your description I see and recall those I know who *can* do that. I also love the apple tree/clouds/spring snow.