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.