a made place…

I reread Robert Duncan’s poem “Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow” yesterday. Found the initial stanzas very relevant to the robe I am making.

as if it were a scene made-up by the mind,
that is not mine, but is a made place,

that is mine, it is so near to the heart,
an eternal pasture folded in all thought
so that there is a hall therein

that is a made place, created by light
wherefrom the shadows that are forms fall.

I like thinking of my robe as a place. The metaphor is enhanced by its largeness, how it spreads over my lap and everything around me when I’m stitching. I’ve had to unpick a few mistakes where I caught other parts of the garment into seams where they didn’t belong. It’s easy to do in a large piece that overflows one’s lap. I didn’t get very far before becoming aware of my mistake though. Intelligence builds in the fingertips.

I’ve also reopened the book Black Robe, White Mist:  Art of the Japanese Buddhist Nun Rengetsu. I feel a kinship between this stitching project and her work in clay, calligraphy, and poetry.

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