she let her fingers slide
over the rich silk brocade,
the saree that had belonged to her mother;
for ten years
it had sat in her cupboard,
bitter memories
still hidden in its folds.

she stared at the border
of mythical birds,
woven in delicate green and gold,
their eyes an all-knowing blue;
she would wear it tonight
to her daughter’s wedding,
it was time.

she threw one end
over her shoulder,
sixty years ago
someone had sat for hours
on a handworked loom,
and breathed life
into yard after yard
of silent birds,
that now stared at her
with her mother’s eyes,
with perfect sadness.

perhaps she could
gather the moments,
caught in the creases on her face,
iron them out,
so they would glow
like the peacocks
in the hotel’s lowlight;
outside, in the hallway,
she heard her daughter laughing.

divine birds
that could separate water from milk,
the old weaver
hadn’t thought to give them
wings to fly;
she held the soft pleats for a moment
against her thickening waistline;
in the mirror
the birds looked away.

Linked to Poets United where the midweek prompt is “design”



47 thoughts on “Design

  1. Such an expensive meditation no time and love – and loss..and yet i love how you ground it quite literally in the material of that saree..and all the love and stories it holds…ready to pass on…when we are ready


  2. Wow! To weave three generations together in this way is an exquisite read. The patterns that bind us are intricate as the wrinkles that come with age as strong as the raw materials in a fabric that will last forever. Perhaps the laughing daughter has wings.


  3. Beautiful….The sari allows us to go back at least a thousand years in design terms with variations in pattern, weave and structure between its inner and outer end-pieces and its two borders …Lovely story of the six yard fabric… 🙂


  4. I absolutely LOVE this poem, the story of growth and healing it tells, the birds on the fabric, the wearing of her mother’s sari to her daughter’s wedding: “It was time.” Wow. A most wonderful poem!


  5. she held the soft pleats for a moment
    against her thickening waistline;

    There is so much to think about just having the sari at hand. One gets emotional for a start and one yearns to be seeing her in the shadows to share good moments together!



  6. So many feelings in this poem….holding the mother’s sari brings them all back, and not all of the memories are pleasant… The question is …. how to deal with the past.


  7. A beautifully emotive poem and it resonates with me as I have a difficult mother/daughter relationship.

    The birds and emotions woven throughout are like the colors you mention and the bit of gold that stood out for me,

    “breathed life
    into yard after yard
    of silent birds,”

    All really powerful together.

    Thank you, for sharing.


  8. Sometimes your poetry pulls a string in my soul and something inside of me begins to unravel, long hidden emotions sneak into consciousness, and I feel connected to something larger than my mind.



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