The seamstress

It is my mother, then: with her mouth Puckered on a fringe of pins, kneeling Or sitting back upon the floor to match The straight line of our hems. Hems up, Hems down in the restless years Of our girlhood, and always she knelt With lowered head, tucking to fashionable whims. Modest in her own whimsies, she kept Her dresses plain, sewing for herself When no recitals, dances, graduations Claimed the seamstress' finer powers. It is My mother's stitch I see still in survivors Of the wardrobe: treasures that transcend The dictums of the hour by their smocking, Lace, embroideries, double-sewn jewel trims, Translating the trifles of the merely feminine To mistresspieces, pin-paintings, art only a little Less mysterious than the kneeling seamstress' life.

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