by Constance Brewer
Sheep flock turned upside down and quickly shorn,
raw fleece tossed and screened at the next station.
Many hands loosen the locks—never torn.
Carded wool ready for transformation
to spinning wheel, my favorite fixation.
Fiber slides through fingers calloused with age,
ancient rhythms return with rotation,
and gather up twist to become spun gauge.
My ancestors created thread at this stage.
Strands plied together as the Fates ordain,
lost in creation my problems assuage.
The bobbin grows large to wind to a skein.
Skein to needles to sweater I adore
worn outside in wind to shear sheep once more.
About Yarn Sonnet – I challenged myself to write a sonnet and since writing a love sonnet wasn’t working, I decided to write a sonnet about something I love instead. The process of taking a sheep fleece and turning it into yarn, then taking the yarn and knitting a useful object from it.
The poem started out as a free verse poem, I took it and began forming it in the shape of a Spenserian sonnet, looking for words that described the process of making yarn, and also words that would lend themselves to rhyme. Once I had that roughed in, I began playing with the iambic pentameter, trying to get that right without sacrificing meaning in the line.
This poem is another case where I could have continued playing with it, but finally had to call it done. (So it’s not finished, just abandoned.) I estimate I revised it 25-30 times. It took me over six weeks to write, including the days I put it aside for a while so I could look at it with fresh eyes.
I used this sonnet as inspiration to go on and write a Petrarchan sonnet, and English sonnet, and a Modern sonnet.
I love what you said there about finishing poems, Constance. I was asked just the other day, how do you know when a poem is ‘ready’. Like you I said — you don’t. It’s more a matter of deciding that is enough. But one could tweak forever!
Thank you for sharing this one with us.
Constance offered the alternative title Muster the Sheep to the Shearing Shed but I went with the original because I had announce it last week. Also I like short titles.
Last week’s LINK in case you missed it.