Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday's Poem to Ponder

Robert Watches Elizabeth Knitting
by Jo Shapcott

Knitting is a bore but Elizabeth
nods and smiles and clicks to herself
as if it were more than just useful.

She goes happily about the task,
moving in and out of it without haste,
perfecting tension, cabling, ribs.

She looks forward to the sewing up
but not too much, knowing how to mesh
the pleasure of the final thing, all sensuality and wholeness, with the independent life of every stitch.

Where does it come from, this compulsion to call her a whole list of things other than what she is?
The string-winder, the long fingered, the sitting clock, the fur maker and on and on and on.

From shanks by sharp shears to Shape Shoulders she is what she is, my shank shifter,
the one who weaves and stitches up wool.

The needles click in a rhythm I can't get at:
part and whole, part and whole;
two heartbeats, a breath, two heartbeats.
Her lips silently move to mark the four or five last stitches in the line.

Elizabeth's pattern is cut small and pasted in her diary:
a book of days,
a book of stitches;
lunch dates and meetings,
Right Border and Neckband, Left Front.
There is no picture, only the long strings of phonemes - purls and plains made unpronounceable by the feminine science of the knitting pattern.
She bows her head to translate the printed page into this odd manipulation of sticks and string.

I can't get my mind around knitting.
It starts to have everything when you come down to it - rhythm, colour and slow but perceptible change.
The meaning is all in the gaps:
a pattern of holes marked out by woolly colour,
a jumper made of space, division and relations.

Strange to see these youngish hands,
with no puffiness and no obvious veins,
repeat the banal and tiny motions
over days over weeks over months.
I ask too much and am too hasty;
this knitting is an exercise in trust.

[From Her Book: Poems 1988-1998 (Faber and Faber, 2000)]

i LOVE the last line:  knitting is an exercise in trust!  That is the perfect summation of my Spring Break 2011.  Learning to trust God for His plan, His timing, His way ... not in the dreams and hopes that i had once envisioned for this week .... but learning to simply sit in obedience and yield to His rhythms and ability to make meaning of "all the gaps". 

I read this morning some very poignant statements that will echo through my day:

* Trust is not a natural response,
      especially for those who have been deeply wounded.

*Don't let your need to understand distract you from His Presence. 
    He will equip you to get through the day victoriously, as you live in deep dependence on Him.

His Promises, so succently penned by David in Ps 84:10 - 12

Better is one day in Your courts, than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the House of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor,
no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in You.

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