Portuguese Wall-Hanging, 17c

Sylvia Forrest

Cut from a bolt of pale green silk,
you'll be a background for summer afternoon dragonflies
flitting among reeds and water.

He allows them on the edge of his ordered design
showing two proud cockerels - symbol of our house.
His long-bodied dog, leaping with joy, mirrors itself.

I stitch his central black, latticed circle;
outline his tentacle leaves;
fill a matching pair with small mourning-crosses.

And another week and another week passes.
He hangs my work in a high dark room.
I open the shutters and my dragonflies gleam.

Sylvia Forrest

Sylvia Forrest began writing in her mid-fifties and is still writing. Her collection, Waltzing off from Hand-Me-Downs was one of Diamond Twig's first pair of Branchlines, published in 1997. Her poem, The Fish Shop Person from Waltzing off... then appeared on Newcastle's metro system and was later featured in a North Shields Fish Quay Festival publication.

Portuguese Wall-Hanging, 17c was featured in the 2005 Blinking Eye anthology. It stemmed from one of Gillian Allnutt's classes, which visited an exhibition of textiles at Newcastle's Hatton Gallery. Sylvia says:

"The dragonflies that drew me to the wall-hanging reminded me of seeing dozens of blue and green ones on a lake in Czechoslovakia in 1991. The central black latticed circle made me think of those grids that concubines looked through, and set the tone of the poem."

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Portuguese Wall-Hanging, 17c © 2005 Sylvia Forrest: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.