Poem: Portrait in thread

My grandmother Margaret Clough is a scientist. She studied biology and worked in laboratories and class rooms majority of her life. She always wanted to be a writer, but felt that science was a more viable option as she thought that no one would marry her; and how was she going to make money writing?  In her late 60’s she started wring classes and as it stands, at 82 she has two books of poems published. She also has a blog.

Here is a poem she wrote about Hand Naai, a portrait I created that hangs in her kitchen.



I look across my room to where

a new embroidered picture hangs,

a picture of a girl, dark-skinned, red-lipped

head held in tattooed hands.

Coloured threads

laid down like painted brush-marks

show her sorrow.

Stitched into the cloth I see

exquisitely expressed,

the compass of her pain.


And I see

another girl, blond head

bent over wooden frame. She holds

in delicate fingers a sharp shiny needle

and stabs into a canvas cloth


over and over again.

22nd February 2016

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