I like poetry, a lot. A shelf of my Favourites Bookcase is devoted to poetry books (and there are more in the basement). I also–as you may have gathered–like sewing and embroidery, a lot. So what better than to combine them?
A few years back, I was in need of a needle-book (a fabric book with fabric pages for storing needles not in use). There was a pattern in an issue of Inspirations magazine that I liked structurally, with its multiple pages and french-knot border, but at the time I was not a fan of stumpwork and wanted something different for the cover art. I took a Sublime Stitching bird pattern (I realize it is not a wood thrush) and combined it with my favourite Sara Teasdale poem to make this little needle-book, which is in more or less constant use.
It has a page for sharp needles, a page for crewel needles, and a page for beading needles, and little endpapers of crazy bird fabric scraps. The needle pads themselves are made out of wool felt, since it holds needles so nicely. The titles are just stamped in with regular ink, and the wool felt is held to the pages with regular zig-zag stitch–nothing fancy.
Sara Teasdale was not the world’s happiest poet, though she did win the first ever Pulitzer Prize for poetry. I once spent an afternoon reading a chronological anthology of her work, which became progressively more depressive; unsurprising since she died of suicide in her late 40s. Wood Song is one of her more uplifting poems, and it’s from comparatively early in her career. As you can see, it’s not so much the work of someone who is happy, as of someone who is trying very hard to be happy.
I HEARD a wood-thrush in the dusk
Twirl three notes and make a star—
My heart that walked with bitterness
Came back from very far.
Three shining notes were all he had,
And yet they made a starry call—
I caught life back against my breast
And kissed it, scars and all.
It is gorgeous work, if sad. As much as I appreciate its artistry and the portrayal of having found meaning and solace in an interaction with nature, I also wish someone had been there to hold her hand and offer her some solace.