by Laura Parker Roerden

My grandmother darned socks.
A good farm wife, she knew
any tear could be mended,
the original wound transformed

into a caesura, a brief pause held by the conductor
to grab our attention, to show us meaning
that hovers uncomfortably in a void.
Or into a sharp, an intentional accident in service

to asserting a consciously uplifting melody.
Nana knew that darning took painstaking
skill, a recovery, of a pattern not usually
perceived by the untrained eye, but seen by those

disciplined enough to lean in and acknowledge the
asymmetry and contradiction of things once whole,
now splintered. That darning takes patience and faith,
word by word. That bridges built across an abyss need

to also be shored up, stitch by loving stitch, until they stand
no longer alone. That it takes a steadfast surrender
to duty and one another since every stitch rises
or falls entirely due to the number

of stitches interdependent with it.
That we must finally take responsibility
for the damage we have wrought and the scars we leave
by sitting and working under the brightest of lights.

Laura Parker Roerden is the founding director of Ocean Matters and the former managing editor of Educators for Social Responsibility and New Designs for Youth Development. She serves on the boards of Women Working for Oceans (W20) and Earth, Ltd.

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