i’ve been tasting

there she sits, head bent, shoulders round
from a thousand years of
careful stitching – always on the edge and
lost in countless patterns,
hair runs fluid, like water trickles
from a tap along her arms and
melts into the fabric on her lap as
people pass on interchanges
and in football stadiums but

hardly see– i haven‘t seen her

all my life but sometimes feel
her eyes upon my back when she
looks up (not that she often does)
because i know, i said already that she‘s
lost in patterns like we tend

to lose ourselves but then with
tender hand she smoothes out the lace,
pauses, & in her eyes–
is endlessness,

i never managed to invade that space,
maybe i wouldn‘t want or couldn‘t, you
remember i was in that car, so she can‘t
really touch me, still i feel her breath
and want her to stitch fragments of my life into
her own, smooth it out and then i dream
to lie with her and run my fingers through
her hair while she keeps weaving me
into her womb with words, unsaid
before in languages of soil & mornings–

in the rearview mirrors, flash lights
it is cold, a siren tears the night & when i grab
the steering wheel, i see them,
traces of her smile, still clinging
to me


Victoria Ceretto-Slotto is tending the Poetics bar at dVerse today and has quilted a wonderful prompt for us… gates open 3 pm EST..


46 responses to “i’ve been tasting

  1. Claudia, initially I thought you were writing about your mother. Then I thought you were writing about the MOTHER – universal creation that Is within us and around us, always there allowing us to steer our lives.

    Your words are so soothing here, to me.

  2. Whew, Claudia. I don’t know about whom you write here; but I picture a great loss, someone you once knew, someone with whom you were somehow woven together, someone whose presence you still sometimes feel strongly in your life!

    A poem that had me reading and rereading.

  3. I suppose we all draw different mental patterns as we read a poem…for me this brought back images of a woman I saw in Vietnam working on a detail tapestry…so focused on the task…I’m not certain that she saw me…love the poem for what it engenders.

  4. No idea who exactly you speak of, but truly sent me into a dream like state of mind as I read through, so descriptive and wonderfully done! Although messing with my mind geez, don’t you know I’m crazy enough..haha

  5. Claudia, cool write, has a bit of a changing flair to it. For much of the piece I thought perhaps you were reacting to nature itself, then I got this past-life, ghost type of interaction feel. Really cool how the additional interpretations revealed themselves to me. Really enjoyed. Thanks

  6. Hi Claudia,
    I enjoyed your words. Somehow I thought you are writing about your grandmother.
    Lovely words.

  7. i love the intimacy at the end…laying with her touching her hair as she womb weaves you…that is lovely…and the traces of her on you at the end a bit of magical…very well done!

  8. there are all kinds of addictions, all because we can’t face the different facets of life, and some people just have to be good at something.

  9. I like that you write about urban life because its pretty much where I spend most of my days now. You gave this a depth of emotion and sensuality brimming just under the cup…I enjoyed this ~

  10. This is so exquisitely and flowingly written full of evocative visual and emotional images. I see her, the one I think of as Mother of Birth and Death. I expect there are many treasures here on your blog. I will be following it.

  11. Oh yeah, we all know somebody like that … had an experience like that … felt those feelings and (maybe) discarded them … only to have return in our thoughts and dreams over and over … superb choice of words, Claudia … as always. Love, cat.

  12. you drew me into this wonder story/observation to where I to wanted to be there.. beautiful imagery and some lovely lines..
    well done Claudia..

  13. Stream of consciousness laced witha skill and beauty of language, of picking just the right word, just enough words, making patchwork poetry of the highest caliber. I also got a vibe of the maternal as if the narrator and the old woman are almost united in the art of their lifeworks.

  14. You have woven a very lovely poem. The tapestry for your imagery is well-chosen. The variations of mood and theme are stitched together like a fine quilt that will stand the test of time. This is poetry at its best. A wonderful write Claudia.

  15. I was pulled right into this…first thinking you were describing the women quilters of Gee’s Bend and then it seemed to veer off…literally…into riding in a (runaway?) car. You have the most unique ability to choose such powerful imagery–I love your perspective and what comes from it.

  16. The weaver is certainly a maternal influence, but the person is less important here than the persona, she who with a different set of motions that the poet’s yet enables her to write poems with the example of what art pieces together. Nice interplay between the present and the past, the remembered quilter who “keeps weaving me / into her womb with words.” The title suggests a flood of memory from something whose savor seared the brain long ago and is a tripwire for present thoughts on poetry. When I think of poetry I think of sitting on Jacksonville Beach FL when I was 3, my mother’s voice somehow inside the sea. That sound always in my ear when I write of love and blue water. Fine job, Claudia. – Brendan

  17. languages of soil & mornings…
    What language is that? YOURs and hers, and so well you know she is part of you and you part of her… this is said with intense tenderness and love, Claudia another one for your great archives

  18. You see her so deeply and know the oneness and say it so beautifully here. You want her to stitch the fragments of your lives together with her craft and then you do that with yours. It’s lovely and respectful and intimate.

  19. I didn’t realize till after I read this that is was for a quilt prompt. In my head I pictured a statue of woman, kneeling perhaps with the bustle of life going on around her. I imagined that for you she was a metaphor for a great mothering force, in control and unwavering. While the world, your world is changing, uncertain and chaotic. Anyway I loved this and the images it put in my head.

  20. as you grab the steering wheel… a wonderful ending!
    as a reader I feel like I’ve invaded a sacred space, as though the reader feels as the speaker in the poem~
    “still i feel her breath
    and want her to stitch fragments of my life into
    her own,”
    I love the intensity and complexity…

  21. read this twice. my favorite gem along the way:

    languages of soil & mornings.

    i wonder how you decide to use ‘and’ in some places and the symbol elsewhere. is it just chance or is there a reason?

  22. I see my grandmother sewing rag rugs in this poem. So many memories, so much history plied into thread and cloth. Have we really improved on things, where such “pastimes” are seen as boring? Thank you for the music memory stirs alive.

  23. this is so rich with imagery claudia… each stanza draws us deeper into the fabric of the poem revealing a darkness, a crash. have read this many times and it continues to reward.

  24. I have read this again and again…it touched me deeply ,as I have sat so many afternoons with the women in camp mending and patching and making the covers that would be used for everything from wrapping a new born babe , to the sheets for the siding of our main tents. We would tell stories about what this or that dress was for , who made it , and how… some shredded garments too worn to ever be clothes again, become the stuff we weave into rugs and wall hangings to insulate where we live and gather. and there’s mojo in those cloths, and each piece chosen to carry into it’s new destiny the legacy of where it’s been. To give you an example…for the infirmary we only used the remnants from wedding cloths and garments worn in Rites of Passage, because they were imbibed with the energy of accomplishment and laughter and song, and thus promote the environment for healing..

    your poetry for me is also such a place.

    I have to say, how lucky we all are to be in range of your voice, and the gift you offer humanity.

    kathleen aka bl8ant

  25. A haunting yet emotional vision, Claudia.

    “to lose ourselves but then with
    tender hand she smoothes out the lace,
    pauses, & in her eyes–
    is endlessness,”

    That stanza, in particular, struck me to the core. Painted a picture that summed the whole piece to me. History, intricacy, and personality, sewn together with such vividity. Stream of consciousness, certainly, and a stream that surges through our own minds, carrying us along…