Ann Arbor Review
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Silver Grey Fox
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MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME TO QUILT
(For Evelyn Crum, master quilter, 1933-2008)
I learned from my mother how to quilt--
how to measure width and length,
how to find shades of a rainy day,
or the hue of a grandchild's trust.
She taught me that the whole is patched
from the piecings of each day. And to save scraps,
for you never know when you'll need one.
She taught me to ease dissonance
into harmonies of pattern, and to blind stitch.
She showed me that the straight grain is strong
but I must learn to work with bias--
for there are days when fabric needs to stretch.
Then she taught me how to smooth the layers--
how to rock my needle, hand-stitching
the warm core to the strong back.
Finally, she taught me to be proud--
to bind the raw edge and display my colors.
This is what I learned from my mother.
THE PATH THROUGH THE PALMS
The path through the palms is sandy and hot.
It dips into hollows, and tracks westerly
over roots and the ghosts of roots--
and sometimes apologetic. Yet I think it will serve you,
my praise-singing child caught up in mystery.
Let your small feet knead the old path--
with memory. Where does it lead?
That is not important now. But see, it narrows in a flurry
of furthering itself along. So if you're coming--
Shutta Crum, Ann Arbor
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