I’ve been thinking about the story-arc of my life recently, prompted by some relationship difficulties with a close family member and by that dratted Acceptance pack on the Headspace meditation app. it would be lovely to see it as a logical, tidy flow: whatever it is, it is certainly not that. but it is full of colour and beauty, tangled though it is.
I came across this poem recently which reminded me of my grandmother, darning with huge attention. on the rare occasions I do so, I re-live her total absorption in the task. I’m giving that attention to repairing my life, these days, even though it can hurt.
Running Repairs, by Beatrice Garland
Such innocents these buttons, gazing
round-eyed at what the grown-ups say –
the endless goings-on, the fresh undoings,
how things are left to hang by a thread.
Darning the elbow of a favourite jersey
I prick the doubts, patch up a serious
misunderstanding with a coloured wool:
meticulous, I cross-hatch vapour trails
across the gaps, across an open sky,
drawing together the edges of the day,
I’ve lost the life I kept intending
to repair – or did it just wear out?
I can’t remember how things used to look.
Next time I’ll plan it properly: linen
stretched across a wooden O, worked on
over years in twists of glowing silk.
First the alphabet and then our names
and then a storied house, its garden sewn
in French knots, cross-stitch, herringbone,
the lawn in satin-stitch, new-mown all year.
Odd to find it almost hurts: the chance
of mending things, of making sense.