Friday, April 23, 2021

Quilts by Nikki Giovanni #PoetryFriday


It is April, and I am joining many others in celebrating National Poetry Month by reading, writing,  sharing, and celebrating poetry each day this month. Many years ago I was a quilter. After I began teaching, I had to put my needles and frames away because I just did not have the time. This year I am going back to my quilting roots and will be playing with patchwork-themed poems from memories of my own quilting years to the history of quilts and to quilt patterns. Pull up a needle and thread and let's stitch awhile.

Many moons ago, I found two quilt tops at a yard sale; I'm not even sure "quilt top" would be the best description of it. The small squares are haphazardly pieced (most of the corners do not match!) and are made of a variety of fabrics from stripes to gingham to pillow ticking to madras plaid to chambray and duck cloth. You name it, and it is in there. One of the quilts is draped over a rocker on our front porch and the other is draped over the door of a 100+-year-old cabinet. 

I always felt sorry for these quilts because they never become anything. For that reason, I have paired this quilt with a poem written by Nikki Giovanni.


Like a fading piece of cloth
I am a failure

No longer do I cover tables filled with food and laughter
My seams are frayed my hems falling my strength no longer able
To hold the hot and cold

I wish for those first days
When just woven I could keep water
From seeping through
Repelled stains with the tightness of my weave
Dazzled the sunlight with my

(You can read the entire poem here.)

Check out all of the Poetry Friday posts at Catherine's blog, Reading to the Core.

Check out the Kidlit Progressive Poem, which is being organized by Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche. A different poet adds a line each day for the month of April. You can find the poem's trail below.

April 1 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All


  1. Oh my, Leigh Anne, the poem is so wonderful. I'm so glad you shared it with us, one to keep with all your lovely quilts. And I love your stories of those two 'tops' you also discovered. I so often think of the hands that made the quilts I have, some loved ones & some unknown. Thank you!

  2. I think the quilt top is lovely, though it's had its day, perhaps. I love the lament in the quilt's point of view. I don't think I've ever read a poem from a quilt's POV!

  3. Oh, Leigh Ann...was there ever a more perfect photo-poem pairing? I don't think so! What love, buying quilt tops from a yard sale. I love your line in your opening, "let's stitch awhile." I might have to borrow that one for a future poem.

  4. What a poignant poem! And your quilt goes with it perfectly.

  5. Wow. Thank you for sharing both the story and this poem, which I don't know. Love!

  6. Perfect poem to go with your quirky quilt tops.