Tuesday, 2 March 2010


This quilt was made to illustrate Thomas Hardy's poem "August Midnight". It was in the richest purples and blues and golds, made chiefly of velvets and silks, with some printing and also some embroidery. It was utterly sumptuous and, not surpisingly, had picked up a number of awards. My camera would not bring out all the detail in one shot - it was a big quilt, a huge undertaking. I was enchanted by it.

Here are some lines from Hardy's poem:

August Midnight

A shaded lamp and a waving blind,
and the beat of a clock from a distant floor:
on this scene enter -winged, horned, spined -
a longlegs, a moth and a dumbledore.

The moth, in its gorgeous silks, is shown in the above picture, with part of the clock, and printed round the clock in a spiral was the whole poem. I kept going back to look again and again, thinking how wonderful poetry is if it inspires something so magnificent.

I have also been re-reading the poems of George Mackay Brown - they are spare and apparently very plain in their language yet rich, rich, in setting and atmosphere - read a dozen and you can smell the salt, the fish, see the small daffodils of the Orkney spring, feel the sun, and the winter cold.

Lines like this from "Island School" in which a fisherman's son and a young farm girl are shown leaving for school:

The boy

"leaves a small house
of sea light. He leaves
the sea smells, creel
and limpet and cod."

The girl

"comes, cornlight
in the eyes, smelling
of peat and cows
and the rich midden."

But the girl is late and arrives, running, to

among twenty whispers."

I just love it!

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