Linda Goulden

Most writers will recognise the experience of keeping a piece you think has something good about it but you can’t quite get it right or finish it. So, you put it in the drawer. Later, you might take it out and try to mend it, shake your head and put it back in the drawer. Maybe this goes on for years. Anyway, your theme for 2021 has made me take this poem (‘The Darn’) out of the drawer and resolve to make it new.

The Darn

My mend is not invisible.
The needle’s blunt and difficult to wield.
My fault lies unconcealed,
a gape worn raw, frayed out,
the pleat and pattern of the past in doubt
unless a darn prove serviceable.

To kiss cross-border, hold my ground,
old wool, with scarce a loop to fasten on,
spools through an eye to run
the very measure of material regret.
My yarn pays out. An end is met.
Here’s one tear less to skirt around.

Hobbled, down at heel, not quite threadbare,
I walk a line between thin edge and air.

Linda’s history with repair includes Stumpwork, a poem inspired by embroidery (you can watch Linda reading it via this YouTube link). It was also one of several poems to inspire mixed media artist Ingrid Karlsson as posted on Instagram.