This weekend the UK will celebrate Mother’s Day and, as a girl, both grandmothers and great grandmothers were recognised too, for they were as much a part of the maternal teaching I received as a child as my own mother. This was written a couple of years ago, but as I’ve been caught up in making and fettling for the past few days, this poem came to mind, so I thought I’d share it again. It is a true story, and great grandma always seemed to choose the brightest colours for her darning…
“Tha’ mun mek’ do an’ mend, little lass,” Granny said
As she planted her small wisdom-seeds,
“Tha’ll not allus get what tha’ wants in this life…
And tha’ll not allus ‘ave what tha’ needs.”
Whenever I’ve needed the things I don’t have
Granny’s words have put me on my mettle.
“…an’ what tha’ can’t buy, tha can probably mek’…
And what tha’ can’t mek’, tha’ can fettle.”
I remember it well, though it’s long, long ago,
I was but a small lass at her knee,
And I watched as she darned Grandad’s old holey sock,
Weaving slowly so that I could see.
The needle went over and under each thread
As the wool wove a web through the breach.
She was working with love at necessity’s call…
A lesson she wanted to teach.
Where there had been naught but a great gaping hole
Her deft fingers were weaving the wool,
Where once there was nothing a ‘something’ was made
So the void in the sock was soon full.
The wool didn’t match, you could see every thread,
There was no way the colours could hide,
But when Grandad put on his now newly-darned sock
I could see that he wore it with pride.
And I watched something pass in the space inbetween,
Eye to eye, heart to heart, without sound…
Of a love and a life they had shared for so long
That they shone with a beauty profound.
I may not have all that I want, it is true,
And my needs may not always be met,
But watching my grandparents’ unspoken love
Taught a lesson I will not forget.
She could have just bought him a new pair of socks
So the old ones could be thrown away.
Instead her old fingers had woven and worked
So he walked in her love every day.
The ‘something’ that blossoms where ‘nothing’ once was,
If in caring and love it is grown,
Is the one priceless gift that a pauper can give
Yet that even a king cannot own.