wonderfully warm in winter

My parents became accidental textile entrepreneurs after a hitch-hike holiday to Donegal in 1950. Hand weaving is an important part of my family myth and life…


In the far-flung corrugated country shed

craft dreams bloomed in optimistic head;

a wooden loom-bench rocked creaking,

industrious shuttles, excitedly speaking,

box-chambered energy expelled with speed,

shiny bullet-nosed boats, harvesting tweed.


Weft clasped warp in organic embrace,

sweat glazed idealist, bespectacled face,

plank pedals foot-pumped up-and-down,

he paused, found flaws, critically frowned,

halted that backbeat, persistent percussion,

alter ego argued, passionate discussion.


My father wove mother’s sun-lit hues

blanketed fibres, rural colour-infused;

both design-dazzled dull and frugal Fifties,

exported their handweaves to European cities,

those pilgrims bravely, brightly fought,

their carefully crafted cloth eagerly sought.


Fond fabrics, faintly echoing eternity,

I’m holy-hugged, embraced maternally;

wonderfully warm in wintry night-time,

treasured stories my parental paradigm:

care-crafted cloth, thoughtful their hands,

designed in distant Donegal, now dreamland.




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