My Mother

Maggie Tate

My mother

didn't think she was an artist
as she gathered a single thread to create a ruffle
or concealed a fan-tail pleat in a straight skirt;
didn't think she was a sculptor
as she draped folds of crêpe-de-chine to transform torsos,
angled collars, padded shoulders to mould power into jackets;
didn't think she was a craftswoman
as her stitches ran true; her seams, tucks and darts built volume -
gave structure and shape to flatness.

My mother described herself as a dressmaker.

Maggie Tate

Maggie Tate grew up in Peckham, and is proud to have attended one of London's first comprehensive schools. She moved to the north-east in 1978 to bring up her two sons and stayed. After retiring from university teaching, she did the MA in Creative Writing at Northumbria and has since then regularly attended writing groups and read at local venues. Individual poems have been published in various anthologies; her first chapbook, Metamorphosis, was published in December 2010 by ID on Tyne.

She says, "I originally submitted this poem for International Women's Day - to celebrate all those ordinary women, like my mother, whose skills and talents were often taken for granted."

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My Mother © 2011 Maggie Tate: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.