Sewing the world

my mother’s head
was full of stitches
she waited in the 
deep forest as featherstitch
with other small birds

here she sang rickrack and 
braided herring bone rivers
here she used chain stitch to
grow mountains here she sat
weaving stitch wheel oceans
to roll out waves

but there are white gaps
between smocking pirie street
and the cross-stitched church
where she married

if I follow the
red wool down woodwood 
street it appears as
running stitch in the 
napier earthquake 

her hat shops are only
tacked to pavements there
is a ladder watching
her needles unsure of 
what she remembered 

the tram goes home alone

Kerrin P. Sharpe is a teacher of creative writing. She completed Bill Manhire’s Original Composition class at Victoria University of Wellington in 1976.  Over the last two years she has been published widely, including in Best New Zealand Poems 08 and 09, Turbine 07, 09 and 10, SnorkelBravadoTakaheNZ ListenerPoetry NZJuncturesSport and The Press. In 2008, she was awarded the New Zealand Post Creative Writing Teacher’s Award by the International Institute of Modern Letters. She was featured Poet in Takahe 69.

Sharpe comments: ‘Whenever I return to Wellington, I still have a strong sense of my mother. I have tried to tell the story of her life through her sewing. The location is Wellington, New Zealand. I have taken the liberty of spelling Woodward Street as Woodwood to put the visual emphasis on the “o” vowel.’

Poem source details >



Best New Zealand Poems 2008 and 2009
Turbine 0709 and 10