Poems and Poetry

Old Quilter, Old Poet | A Poem by Donal Mahoney

She’s been making quilts
for half a century and he’s been
making poems that long as well
and every now and then he brings
a chocolate shake to her place
so they can take a break and talk.

He always finds her at the frame,
peering through thick lenses.
“I’m still house bound, Walt,”
she laughs and likes to say.

Once she told him quilts are poems.
She works with scraps of cloth
and he with scraps of words and quilts
and poems are never done until all
the scraps are where they have to be.

Now she’s working on a Double Wedding Ring,
a quilt not unlike a sonnet in that both follow
patterns of their own but she likes crazy quilts
because she can improvise with scraps
she finds on floors around the house.
Her job’s to make something beautiful
from scraps others might throw away.

He has no problem understanding that.
He saves scraps of words and marries them
in ways some folk find odd or useless.
Finishing her shake she says maybe
they play jazz and just don’t know it.

She likes Miles Davis and puts his album on
when a crazy quilt won’t go her way
but she would never listen to Miles while
she’s at work on a Double Wedding Ring.
Yo-Yo Ma, she says, is the man for that.
The old poet says he would never disagree.

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