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Marianne Jones

About this Christian Poet:
Marianne Jones of Thunder Bay, Ontarios is Utmost's third International Christian Poet Laureate, serving in 2010 and 2011.

Kantha

Hindu texts say
the universe is a continuous fabric woven by the gods
and the lord of tatters returns a whole cloth
in exchange for a rag.
The unschooled women in Bengali
unspool discarded saris
to recount their lives in kantha embroidery.
Forbidden even to speak their husbands’ names,
their voices are heard
as soft and persistent as mourning doves
in every stitch.

The freedom quilts of North America called out
from slave to slave.
Lacking books,
they read the constellations of cotton and thread,
color and shape:
a language unknown to their learned masters.

When the quilters of Gee’s Bend
pieced together the ragged slices of their lives into whole cloth,
they were not thinking
they would be praised for their ability
to combine survival and beauty.
It was just what you did:
it is more than the body that needs to survive.

Every day I stitch words together.
Hunched over paper,
I join phrases in blocks,
join shape to shape
contrast light to dark
striving for the transcendence of those women
with their calloused hands and curved spines.

Copyright © by Marianne Jones