The Patchwork Quilt

Muriel and Margaret, wearing the patchwork quilt.

The patchwork Quilt

Across my bed silently it lies,
That patchwork quilt,
Its weight is warming,
The colours vibrant
Cathedral-like stained glass,
It many stories tell.
Each piece so delicately made
It could be sewn
By the Tailor of Gloucester
Or some such tiny hand.
From the silk with flowers,
I hear the laughter of its owner
Long since dead,
Her grey hair, smile and gentle ways,
Always so kind. I knew that silk,
It touched my soul, I as a child
Watched the swirling dresses,
Elegant, from another world.
The gold check was a ball gown,
Grand and glorious,
It shimmered shook.
It rustled like the trees in autumn,
I can see its journey in my head,
From bolt of cloth to gown.
The pink was a cousin,
From my father’s side a thin lady,
Dark-haired, wide-eyed, kind,
Now gone, so this is all that’s left.
The ribbed satin ah,
That was a wedding gown,
I never saw. But now I make believe
Its owner was a blonde with olive eyes.
One dark silk with watered sheen,
Was a gown like a pool,
Into which men fell enchanted by its depth.
Another diamond made of lines now touch like fingers,
Gently holding life together.
Another of such fifties print
It makes you laugh that we could have worn such patterns.
Hundreds of them dance as I sleep,
like the princesses
Who have worn out their shoes
and now go home to sleep,
My mother’s patchwork quilt haunts me,
with its fragmented past,
Its journey from the rooms of laughter
filled like a cup of wine ready to be imbibed.
Those dresses dance across
My dreams at night,
That patchwork replica of life.

Caroline Baldock © 2019