Defarge She is Not

She be a knitter and weaver of love,
needles held surely in confident hands.
Magical work with rainbows of color
wee dresses, wool caps, and warmest afghans.

Strands of affection twist patterns supreme,
yarn disappearing at quickening pace.
Fingers so agile, loop thread over thread
artist sans easel, her lap as her base.

She smiles at her world and when she does err
pauses, examines and looks to assess.
What has been done? Rewind. Amend. Restart.
Good pattern for all, for life of success.


Late for dVerse Tuesday’s Poetics. Kim asks us to write a poem about an artisan, using the form/style of the famous Irish poet, Seamus Heaney. I chose to emulate Heaney’s poem Follower: written in stanzas of 4 lines, each 10 syllables in length. Also, two of the lines in each stanza rhyme — most often ABCB.  This was a real challenge for me. Which is why I’m posting on Wednesday for Tuesday’s Poetics! I do enjoy a challenge…and always learn when I’m dealing with rhyme which I find the most difficult aspect of poetry. You’ve probably noticed that I mainly write in free verse. The title refers to Madame Defarge, the villainous woman in Tale of Two Cities who sits and knits, seemingly innocuously. In reality, she is knitting into the garment, the names of those to be executed.

20 thoughts on “Defarge She is Not

  1. Grace January 18, 2017 / 12:03 pm

    Good pattern to follow: Rewind. Amend. Restart. Creative title too, smiles !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. whimsygizmo January 18, 2017 / 2:31 pm

    Good advice here, indeed. LOVE this:
    “Strands of affection twist patterns supreme”
    And those last lines.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) January 18, 2017 / 4:03 pm

    Love the reference to Dickens, and though I have not read tale of two Cities (except that fantastic beginning) it works so well… knitting is something my wife sometimes do…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 18, 2017 / 10:35 pm

      Madame Defarge was an ever present sinister villain….sitting quietly, always knitting. Not until far into the book do we realize the tragedy she is knitting…names of those to be executed.


  4. Glenn Buttkus January 18, 2017 / 5:23 pm

    I got started early, so was not hampered by endeavoring to emulate Heaney; but kudos to you for doing so. It seems that if I post late, less folks get back out on the trail to read it–but hey, reinforcement is less critical perhaps than the creation. I really enjoyed your discourse on writing poetry longhand. As a septuagenarian, I still remember Hemingway always writing in cursive first, I write everything, poetry, prose, essays in longhand–it just feels right. Then I can blue pencil fervently before using the keyboard & spell check for the next step–shaping the line breaks & the stanzas. I am fascinated by the different shapes that emerge on my page. I tend to adore my own version of haibun, and now write haiku in my head for fun. We all teach each other at dVerse; a lovely relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 18, 2017 / 10:34 pm

      I so agree! I’ve learned so much through dVerse. The keyboard is a much better place to “shape the line” — I so agree with that. I do love to occasionally look back through my notebooks, circle fragments, lost lines or poems I didn’t finish. Food for future thought for me 🙂


  5. kim881 January 19, 2017 / 8:52 am

    I’ve finally got around to reading your poem and what a treat! I used to be a knitter until arthritis wrestled the needles from my hands. In fact, when I lived in Germany, I was well-known on the party circuits for being a bit of a Defarge! I even designed my own patterns. I do miss the comfort of knitting, which is one of the reasons I want to try weaving – not quite so fiddly.
    I got some wonderful pictures in my mind’s eye of the ‘rainbows of colour’ and the ‘wee dresses’ and I loved the way you knitted in the ‘strands’, ‘yarn”, and other knitting jargon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 19, 2017 / 8:59 am

      You are so kind, Kim. This was not one of my better poems….I really struggled with the rhyme and emulating Heaney’s style. But, it was a learning experience. And yes, I do indeed love to knit. This was the Christmas of an afghan for each of my five grandchildren….two in the shape of stars (different color schemes); one an ever-increasing diamond of confetti colors; another in diversely green rectangle with cocoa brown border; and one in lavenders with small knit violets attached at the center. I’m a much better knitter that I was a writer here. Ah well….I enjoyed the challenge! 🙂 Hoping you are taking care of yourself these recent days…seek moments of serenity when you can.

      Liked by 1 person

      • kim881 January 19, 2017 / 9:03 am

        I’m glad you enjoyed the challenge and thank you for the kind thoughts – the funeral will be on 8th February and I will be spending some time with Ellen, my daughter, before then. It’s been up and down but I know Mum is at peace now.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. paul scribbles January 19, 2017 / 9:48 am

    I don’t think I even tried to emulate Heaney in mine….oops…anyways…I enjoyed this and you are the summit of the comment mountain for me…78 poems read and liked or commented upon…this last two or three days…a very lovely one to end with…my mother knitted ‘furiously’ and created functional, usable items…the click of the needles is a sound of my past.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 19, 2017 / 11:08 am

      That sound is very often in our house! 😊 I knit a lot – mainly for grandkids and their moms.


    • lillian January 20, 2017 / 7:01 am

      I love to knit…..keeps my hands busy and much better than shoveling in potato chips! 🙂


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