The Joy of Sewing

First the threading of the needle

that eye nearly invisible

held nearer and farther away,

so the tip of the thread

is a camel through a keyhole,

a rich man

carrying all his belongings

through the Pearly Gates.

But at least near cussing,

you thread the filament

into the orifice. Aha!

The cloth lies on your lap

like an infant in a christening gown,

as smooth under your palm

as your mother’s lost skirts.

The needle slow at first,

jackrabbits straight and true.

The making.

The focus.

The stitching your finger’s mantra.


The finished products of contemplation:

The ties Carver always wears

with his secondhand suits.

And the snickers behind his back.


By Marilyn Nelson

From “Carver a life in poems”

Front Street, Asheville, North Carolina 2001