August 6, 2010

"Yarn Spinner" by Pamela Mordecai

Yarn Spinner…

Inside she sits and spins, decanting gold  
and silver from her wrists. Her fingers bleed.
Day and then night. Myriad windows perch 
above her head brilliant birds. Through them 
she cannot see the river pirouette 
from a valley hung high, tumble, kneel deep 
into a basin blue as chiming bells 
set in obsidian rocks. Night and then day 
but she cannot observe the stars, the sun.
She scoffs air, laps sweat off her chin. Straining 
to listen finds she cannot hear even 
the wind. The walls leach marrow from her bones. 
The room adjusts around her shrinking frame 
of mind. She teases out a winking thread

curls it about a spool, then wheels and comes
again. Rich filaments bite through her skin
as she construes the pile of unspun wool, 
rovings of thought, symbols of winding cord, 
strings she makes hum, imagine up a poem 
to twist the tongue, cable to match a letter to 
a sound, a drill that interweaves syntax 
of word and necessary word, a song to bring 
a measured metre to the hands that drum
on ancient wood. But this can’t be a life.
Flapping flamboyant wings the windows preen 
and squawk, a flock cruising landscapes she will
not see again. The river in the rising sun 
spits, spurts, explodes resplendent as a veil

let fall to hide a bride. Marry she won’t 
locked in this tower where time goes. Her green 
flesh crawls fluted as wrinkled sea. Once she 
was brown and curious in the world, Now her 
illumination is a crusted bulb 
on a high wire. How did she come to this, 
within without an inkling of out, intent 
on weaving meaning as she strips it from 
herself? And still she feeds the iridescent mound 
so thick and plentiful it steals the light.. 
And are you sad alone? Not when I spin. 
And are you sorry for the yarns you make? 
No, for they keep the children warm. What if 
you die spinning a thread? Better than in my bed…

©  Pamela Mordecai 2010


About the author:

Pamela Mordecai has written articles on Caribbean literature, edited and co-edited ground breaking anthologies of Jamaican poetry and Caribbean women’s writing, published textbooks, children’s books, four collections of poetry (Journey Poem, de man, CertifiableThe True Blue of Islands), a collection of short fiction, Pink Icing, and a reference work, Culture and Customs of Jamaica (with husband, Martin). Her play, El Numero Uno, had its world premiere at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People in February 2010. A prize-winning poet with a PhD in English, Mordecai lives in Toronto.


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1 comment:

Rethabile said...

Thanks to both of you. I must read this poem correctly when I get back to a stable web connection.