, , , ,

“The quilt/has tessellated all of it./Arranged like faithful paladins,/are half a dozen bits and scraps”
Abigail Parry ~ The Quilt

Patchworking or Pieceworking is redolent of hard times when women joined pieces of cloth together for clothing or quilts or rugs. In biblical times Jacob had a coat of many colours that drew the ire of his brothers whilst Dolly Parton sang of the ridicule she suffered wearing her stitched rags. In this extract from “Stencilled Memories” Lorna Dee Cervantes uses patchworking as metaphor for her home life:

“…You patched together a blanket of us,
sewed together the mismatched and lopped
off edges. And anger grew a twin, ripped
through the bermuda grass, something stubborn
and determined: Me, in a leather patchwork skirt,
the bitter lemon song returning to its beginning
over and over on the Howdie Doody phonograph,
a handful of bandages, a faceful of ghosts
delivered from the mirrors. How did you stand it?
All of it. Us crunching through your set life,
kids scuffling through the mounds of leave.
Always making do. Your sunshine eyes,
those stencilled memories where
we still live.”

This piecing together also has something in common with the Mockingbirds as Thom Gunn writes in Patch Work:

Cento in Latin means ‘patchwork’ but unlike the cento poem we are going to be sewing together pieces of prose to make a poem:

  • Choose TWO books of prose
  • Pick ONE page from each
  • Extract SHORT LINES from each page*
  • ALTERNATE them to make a poem
  • Use italics and plain font to differentiate the text sources
  • Use one of the source lines or a combination as TITLE

Stick to these Guidelines:

  • DO NOT ADD ANYTHING of your own to the lines
  • You may use enjambement
  • You could split the poem into stanzas
  • CITE YOUR SOURCES with author, book title and page number

 Note: The patchwork poem will not rhyme but you may find a meter
Like the Mockingbird, half the fun is seeing just how disparate works can come together.

*short lines mean you are not taking too much from the source in plagiarism

Once you have published your poem, add it to the Mr Linky below (by linking up, you are effectively agreeing to abide by the guidelines.) Then go visiting other contributors as that is half the enjoyment of our dVerse gatherings.