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A Buckinghamshire Lace Maker

We were sent this poem about lace making by a visitor whose visit to COAM had inspired her to write it.

A Buckinghamshire Lace Maker

A statue except for her waltzing hands,

Flickering back and forth over the cushion,

Bone bobbins and delicate fingers draw the eye,

White and slender, like the threads they move,

Up and down, twist by twist, pin by pin,

Her face is a mask, still as a mountain,

As she forms the milk white net.

Centuries run through her clever hands,

Mother to daughter, mother to daughter,

Woman to woman, woman to girl,

Wind and unwind, length by length,

Flows from those hands the sea foam mesh

That will adorn the ball gown of a lawyer’s wife.

Farthing to halfpenny, penny to shilling, shilling to pound,

Bread and milk and rent and tea,

Coal on the fire, a hat for church,

Little by little, year by year.

The filmy thread loops and curves, forming flowers in its wake.

Amersham to Ayelsbury, Beaconsfield to Buckingham,

Hand after hand, freedom after freedom,

The days are numbered, the machines draw near,

Front room to factory, fingers to cogs, handiwork to history.


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