Two Poems for Knitting

photoIn late November and into December, I often find myself knitting at night, rushing to catch up with projects destined to become Christmas presents.

I am not a very skilled knitter; I can make rectangles (scarves, small blankets) and things that can be made out of rectangles (leg warmers, arm warmers, bags, vastly oversized laptop covers . . . ). I can’t cable, use double-pointed needles, read a pattern, or reliably tell you what a slip-stitch is. Though I was taught by a talented and generous knitter, I am fairly sure that I’m holding the yarn the wrong way.

Still, I love knitting. I like seeing yarn curved and curled into something new and useful (well, mostly useful), and the sense of satisfaction that comes from weaving in the yarn ends on a scarf or a baby blanket. I’m not good enough that I can take my eyes off the work, so I usually knit while listening to a movie or TV show I’ve seen ten times before and chatting with my husband. It’s all very companionable.

Anyway, today I went looking for poems that talk about knitting, and I found a few; here are my two favorites.

The first, Ciarán Carson’s “The Fetch,” is just wickedly cool (that’s a technical term, by the way); it’s about waking, dreaming, loss, the sea, and distance, and features a nice Dickens reference, too. It’s so good I’m putting his book For All We Know on my Christmas wish list.

The second poem links knitting and waves as well. “A simple co-creator, I trust in simple decorum,” says the speaker of Cory Wade’s “Knitting Litany.” An incredibly skilled knitter, the speaker conjures a list of flora and fauna that descend from her needles, and imagines the waves she builds and builds.

Now, who’s going to teach me how to crochet?