Tis of Me

Time to take out the creativity kit,

channel Betsy Ross, and stitch

a new flag of unity

from the chiaroscuro scraps

of tunnel-visioned division,

the biased binding of

fanatics.

Make a new chromatic

comforter of unity.

Compose a quilted love song

to my country

that makes us all take one knee,

aching from the weight

of fear-based imagery,

and the sight of stubborn ones

fighting over freedoms

like fancy fabrics;

they won’t let go

until they rip them in two.

If only I could find you

a universal needle,

instrument of our foremothers,

have these quilters describe

to us, their descendants,

why they set their family squares

in the only land I know

without foundation

piercing through.

I’d double line my work

with much to learn:

fabric slightly off the grain

is still useable,

easing is possible

through continued back-stitching,

and honorable collaboration

makes the best cloths.

Let us each switch swaths

of consciousness,

experience homespun discrimination,

hate and the hand of displacement,

rips in the fabric we carry inside.

Wrap us in a new kindred shawl

with long right and left arms,

a homogenous hug,

hold us all there

and remind each of us–

our creation is home.

This poem is my promise quilt

to always listen,

to kneel before purple mountains,

nature’s majesty,

and to love all of the swatches of

my homeland,

my country,

the lattice quilt of the free. 

© khartless 2021, All Rights Reserved

“Our hearts aching, our prayers praying, our flags waving, never forget.”

Betsy Ross

Even though I can’t attend this evening’s Open Link Night at d’Verse, I wanted to share this poem that I wrote living abroad, but that I thought appropriate to share today in a time of thankfulness.

I have the utmost respect for all of the women and men that have served my country and their dedication to fighting for freedom, liberty, and justice for all. HappyVeteran’s Day, and if you are a veteran, I thank you kindly for your sacrifice and service.

Artwork: A vintage 1930 Tintogravure pin-up print by John Knowles Hare titled “Betsy Ross.”

24 Comments

  1. hedgewitch

    We need this dedicated needlework, as the narrative shows, not just for embellishment, but for practical cohesion, for warmth and comfort, and for that love of our home which should cover us all under the same blanket. If only we could find the needle, have a skilled needlewoman stitch it all back together. Great use of metaphor and description.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sunra Rainz

    A stunning poem, K.Hartless. I love all the sewing terms and imagery to express your sentiments, the idea of being wrapped in the hug of the kindred cloth and each sharing swathes of consciousness. Really beautiful ❤

    Like

    1. K.Hartless

      Thank you. Yes, I know for me, it’s always better to just focus on the few “squares” in front of me and not get too overwhelmed by the big picture. Maybe it could be the same for a country? I appreciate your kind comments, Björn.

      Like

  3. Jewish Young Professional "JYP"

    I really liked this, from the title to the needlework motif through the end. I think it can be quite difficult to write a good effective poem about construction, unity, and hope and yet you’ve done so here in a really effective way while paying homage Betsy Ross. [I’m reminded of a poem I wrote awhile ago about the dysfunctional state of our country (https://jewishyoungprofessional.wordpress.com/2021/09/29/american-pie/ if you’re curious), but like I said, it is easier to criticize and cut down vs. to construct and build]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. K.Hartless

      Thank you. I will definitely read your link, and I agree. Unity is spoken of but only in abstraction. Like a quilt, to me, there’s something about unity that means being okay with sharing borders with those that are different from ourselves. I truly appreciate your reading and commenting.

      Like

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