The thing about knitting
Is you have to choose:
Colour or pattern?

A beautiful texture
Will only show
With a solid colour.
A vibrant, multicolour yarn
Will get lost
In a busy pattern.

I’ve learned this
From careful observation
And the sharp edge
Of experience.

No sweater
Can hold
Every colour
I think is beautiful;
Or every pattern
I want to see
Play out.
Trying to cram
Everything in
Only ends
In a tangled mess.

In my life,
There are so many
Things I want
To see,
To do,
To be,
To discover.

More often than not
I try to wedge
Them all in
Rushing about,
Hurried and stressed,
Confused about why
My nerves are jangled.

But it is simply
Colour and pattern
Or violently.

I want to make
The perfect plan
Where everything fits.
But at some point
You have to just
Listen to the yarn.
It says:
There is always
Another sweater.

Sometimes ideas
Belong to
The next project.
It’s the only way
Not to ruin the one
That’s already
In your hands.

So when I start
To feel myself
Overfilling my existence,
Reaching for too many
Different skeins
Trying too many
Different stitches,
I will simply
Tell myself:
I am saving this
For my next life.

And even if
That other life
Turns out to be
Nothing more
Than a dream…

It still lets me
Fall in love again with
The colour and pattern
I have chosen
For this life;

And the yarn
Flowing through
My fingers

Note: Today, I went on a Zoom silent meditation retreat as part of a course on Mindful Self-Compassion I am doing through a breast cancer charity. I was a bit apprehensive about spending a whole afternoon this way, but I found it incredibly moving. The exercise that touched me most was one where we focused on falling in love with all the little details of the things in the world around us. It was so beautiful to be in touch with that feeling of falling in love – what a light-giving energy to bring to life. It struck me that the key was slowness, and stillness, and following the instructions to focus one item at the time, before finishing with it and more on to the next. I chose to look at other things, but my knitting was sitting right next to me, in the corner of my peripheral vision. I wrote this poem on the tea break, just trying to capture some of the thoughts and feelings that came spilling out.

Photo by Jordan Bigelow on Unsplash