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.