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It’s February 21. That means we have completed three weeks of our daily write-in. Kudos to all, whether you’ve been participating every day, dropping in, or following along by reading the responses.

As you know, this year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. We have a new writing prompt for every day in February. The object of this project is to turn off our inner critics, play with a daily writing practice, and share the results in a community setting.

For those of you who are new to the project, please read my introductory post. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 3 FOUND OBJECTS at this post. At the end of the month, I’ll have prizes for the most frequent contributors. However, there’s no obligation to write every day. Drop in as often as you like.

I was away this weekend visiting family. If you’ve posted poems in the comments over the weekend, it may take me a day or two to move them into the blog posts. Thanks for being patient.

As always, remember when you leave a written response in the comments, include the number of the day, so I put it in the right place.

IMG_0496FOUND: Singer Sewing Machine

Thanks to Matt Forrest Esenwine for sending in today’s object, which fits in our functional object category.

My husband’s family is from Paterson, New Jersey. Paterson was the silk capital of the U.S. for many years. The city — home to poets Allen Ginsberg, William Carlos Williams, and Maria Mazziotti Gillan — was known for its textiles. We have an antique singer sewing machine passed down through the family in our home. I’ll have to snap a picture to share.

dmayr1Diane Mayr has a wonderful image/poem contribution to share today.

 

Diane did some research on Mr. Singer before creating this poem. The path from idea through research to poem is a fascinating one. I hope you’ll take a look at Diane’s post at Random Noodling, where you can also view a larger version of this image.

***

Linda Baie’s poem reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from the movie version of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Everyone in the village is talking about a young couple’s new addition. I expected it to be a baby, but it’s a sewing machine!

Complicated

It’s easy!
All one must do is
thread the bobbin, insert it under the left plate,
pull the thread up to connect with the upper needle,
thread that needle.
All set?
Now, place the fabric under the needle,
hold it straight,
then turn the wheel on the right,
and at the same time,
start peddling the treadle
back and forth,
back and forth,
push the fabric slowly through.
Be sure it stays lined up!
And don’t forget to peddle,
keep peddling.
It’s much quicker than sitting late at night
sewing the families’ clothes-
one hour for a shirt,
instead of 14 hours by hand.
This machine is a time saver,
and now you can make so many more pieces of clothing
for the family.
You won’t be able to vote for another seventy years,
but you can sew
on this complicated machine,
taking care of the family.

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

***

I see that my husband’s family is not the only one with a history of working with textiles. Jone MacCulloch suggests a similar connection in this poem.

Grandmother’s Machine

Her sewing machine
a time
of spiritual contemplation

Her sewing machine
after
the household chores

Her sewing machine
creating
smocks, dresses, and aprons

Her sewing machine
rhythmic
like a rocking horse

Her sewing machine
quiet
with untold stories

© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved

***

Here’s an acrostic poem from Jessica Bigi. I like the short lines, which mimic the rhythm of the sewing machine.

Old Fashion Sewing

O val bobbin
L icorice black machine
D ainty stitching

F ancy seamstress
A djustable stitching
S ewing threads
H emming cloth
I nvisible seams
O ld fashion
N eedle thread

S imple sewing
E arth friendly
W inding wheel
I nventive sewing
N ever easy
G randmother’s stories

***

Thanks again to Matt Forrest Esenwine for contributing our found object of the day. Here is his response poem.

The Old Clothes Trunk

Each piece still brings me back,
when school bells used to ring.
Each patch still seems to ache;
each stitch still seems to sing.

– © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

***

Like Matt, and many of us who wrote today, Donna Smith connects fabric with the past.

Dresses

My grandmother and aunt were seamstresses
Managing a dress factory
Where I would go some days and see
Fabric piled high and in pieces
Ready to stitch together
Women sat at sewing stations
A bin on each side
With “piecework” they would
Sew together and
Place in the next basket
For the next woman to add
Another piece
And it skipped and zipped down the line
Woman to woman
Until
Like magic
A dress appeared
To be shuffled off to the dress shop
And bought by someone
Who never thought about
All the pieces of this puzzle dress
And how it magically came together –
Maybe that is why
My favorite scene in Cinderella
Has always been the assembly of her dress
Animal by animal
Bird by bird
Cutting
Sewing
Draping
Until
Like magic
A dress appears.

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved

***

I was away during Carol Varsalona’s recent chat, but I hope some of you were able to participate. You can read more at her blog. Carol says, “Day 21 finally finished after the #ISTELitChat on the power of poetry that I guest moderated with Laura Purdie Salas. The link to my poem post ishttp://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2016/02/i-remember-it-well.html.”

There is a time gone by.
I remember it well.
Nonnie’s pride and joy
my charmed hiding place
its silent wheel in idle repose-
Nonnie’s watchful eye
my pitter patter glee
its treasures stored-
Nonnie’s small round bobbins
my tiny hands examining
its threads of many colors-
Nonnie’s love for child
my love for Nonnie’s hands
its shiny cabinetry-
Nonnie talking gently
my gleeful spirit
its busy wheel in idle repose-

There is a time gone by.
I remember it well.
Her hands cradled mine
my hands longing to touch all she owned
its up-down- sing song motion

There is a time gone by.
I remember it well.
The dream to peddle
what could not be
for a little one’s hands.
Years later
mother owned her own
I learned
it was loved.

Generations passed.
Great-grandchild
owned her own machine
its needle busily moving again.

Nonnie passed.
Mother passed.
Sewing machine lives on.

©Carol Varsalona, 2016

***

Charles Waters uses the sewing machine as a metaphor for family in this poem.

Home Remedy
By Charles Waters

Grandma stitches up
each rip in my soul
with gentle hugs,
homemade banana
bread, and a kiss on
the cheek.

***

Catherine Flynn is blogging alongside us today. You can read her beautiful poem/memory at this post.

***

After a weekend visit with family, I’ve fallen behind on my own responses. I hope to catch up soon. People continue to send in work, so I hope you will go back and read poems that have been added to the earlier posts.

Those of you who have been writing along with me in February over the years know that this began as a pay it forward project in 2013. Tomorrow is my birthday, and my gift to you all is the last set of FOUND OBJECTS. It’s leap year, so we have eight objects to go.

There are two guest hosts on three days this week. Thank you to Jan Godown Annino at Bookseed Studio (Tuesday — Day 23 and Sunday, 2/28) and Mike Ratcliffe — who contributed the deer skull prompt — at Michael Ratcliffe’s Poetry (Poetry Friday, Day 26) for helping out.

Ready, writers?

_MG_5477

DAY 22 PROMPT contributed by Buffy Silverman (February 22)

DSCN2011

DAY 23 PROMPT contributed by Jan Godown Annino (February 23 at BOOKSEED STUDIO)

106

DAY 24 PROMPT contributed by Matt Forrest Esenwine (February 24)

Hawaii 088

DAY 25 PROMPT contributed by Laura Shovan (February 25)

IMG_3911

DAY 26 PROMPT contributed by Jessica Bigi (February 26 at MICHAEL RATCLIFFE’S POETRY)

IMG_7328

DAY 27 PROMPT contributed by Buffy Silverman (February 27)

IMG_2204

DAY 28 PROMPT contributed by Mary Lee Hahn (February 28 at BOOKSEED STUDIO)

 

dmayrTruck

DAY 29 PROMPT contributed by Diane Mayr (February 29) and we are done!!

Leave your writing in the blog comments (feel free to post a poem or response in the comments of any project-related post). Be sure to note which day/prompt your poem or prose short goes with so I can post it on the correct day. Send in your writing ANY TIME — early, late. As long as I receive it by February 29, it will be posted along with the object of the day.

Perfect attendance is not a requirement of this project. Write and share your work as often as you like, even if it’s only once. The goal is to practice and share, not to polish, and certainly not to aim for perfection.

Interested in what we’ve written so far? Here are links to this week’s poems:

Sunday, February 14
FOUND OBJECT: Hot Potato
Poems by: Violet Nesdoly, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Carol Varsalona, Heidi Mordhorst, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Charles Waters, Molly Hogan.

Note: You will find links to all of  the Week 1 and Week 2 poems at this post.

Monday, February 15 at My Juicy Little Universe
FOUND OBJECT: Coffee Mug
Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Catherine Flynn, Laura Shovan, Mary Lee Hahn, Heidi Mordhorst, Diane Mayr, Buffy Silverman, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie, Donna Smith, Julieanne Harmatz, Jone Rush  MacCulloch, Charles Waters.

Tuesday, February 16
FOUND OBJECT: Sculpture
Poems by: Victoria Costa, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Catherine Flynn, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Robyn Hood Black, Buffy Silverman, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Charles Waters.

Wednesday, February 17 at Mainely Write
FOUND OBJECT: Hot  Pink Sandal
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Jessica Bigi, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie, Catherine Flynn, Mary Lee Hahn, Buffy Silverman, Donna Smith, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Laura Shovan, Heidi Mordhorst, Margaret Simon, Charles Waters.

Thursday, February 18
FOUND OBJECT: “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” Sculpture
Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Diane Mayr, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Linda Baie, Catherine Flynn, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Charles Water, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Buffy Silverman.

Friday, February 19
FOUND OBJECT: Deer Skull
Poems by: Mary Lee Hahn, Jessica Bigi, Donna Smith, Linda Baie, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Patricia VanAmburg, Charles Waters, Carol Varsalona, Heather Meloche, Laura Shovan.

Saturday, February 20 at Deowriter
FOUND OBJECT: Horse Figurine
Poems by: Donna Smith, Jessica Bigi, Jone MacCulloch, Margaret Simon, Linda Baie, Carol Varsalona, Charles Waters, Jone Rush MacCulloch.

14 responses to “2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 21 and Final Week Prompts”

  1. Hi Laura, I just saw your post now, so I quickly wrote this down…I figured if you were sharing one of my photos, the least I could so was write something to go with it!

    The Old Clothes Trunk

    Each piece still brings me back,
    when school bells used to ring.
    Each patch still seems to ache;
    each stitch still seems to sing.

    – © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

  2. Donna Smith says:

    Day 21

    Dresses

    My grandmother and aunt were seamstresses
    Managing a dress factory
    Where I would go some days and see
    Fabric piled high and in pieces
    Ready to stitch together
    Women sat at sewing stations
    A bin on each side
    With “piecework” they would
    Sew together and
    Place in the next basket
    For the next woman to add
    Another piece
    And it skipped and zipped down the line
    Woman to woman
    Until
    Like magic
    A dress appeared
    To be shuffled off to the dress shop
    And bought by someone
    Who never thought about
    All the pieces of this puzzle dress
    And how it magically came together –
    Maybe that is why
    My favorite scene in Cinderella
    Has always been the assembly of her dress
    Animal by animal
    Bird by bird
    Cutting
    Sewing
    Draping
    Until
    Like magic
    A dress appears.

    ©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved

  3. Day 21 finally finished after the #ISTELitChat on the power of poetry that I guest moderated with Laura Purdie Salas. The link to my poem post is http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2016/02/i-remember-it-well.html.

    The shortcut to the poem is:

    There is a time gone by.
    I remember it well.
    Nonnie’s pride and joy
    my charmed hiding place
    its silent wheel in idle repose-
    Nonnie’s watchful eye
    my pitter patter glee
    its treasures stored-
    Nonnie’s small round bobbins
    my tiny hands examining
    its threads of many colors-
    Nonnie’s love for child
    my love for Nonnie’s hands
    its shiny cabinetry-
    Nonnie talking gently
    my gleeful spirit
    its busy wheel in idle repose-

    There is a time gone by.
    I remember it well.
    Her hands cradled mine
    my hands longing to touch all she owned
    its up-down- sing song motion

    There is a time gone by.
    I remember it well.
    The dream to peddle
    what could not be
    for a little one’s hands.
    Years later
    mother owned her own
    I learned
    it was loved.

    Generations passed.
    Great-grandchild
    owned her own machine
    its needle busily moving again.

    Nonnie passed.
    Mother passed.
    Sewing machine lives on.

    ©Carol Varsalona, 2016

  4. Mary Lee Hahn says:

    Day 22

    Partners

    You can’t see me.
    I’m not here.
    I freeze.
    I blend.
    I pose.

    Glance away, then.
    Lose attention.
    I’m gone.
    Gone where?
    Tree knows.

    ©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

    http://www.maryleehahn.com/2016/02/found-object-poem-project-partners.html

  5. Donna Smith says:

    Day 22

    ONE With the Tree

    I freeze on the tree
    I am ONE with the tree
    I AM the tree
    To act like a tree
    One must BE the tree
    When I am the TREE
    You don’t see me
    I am the perfect
    Camouflagee
    Even my eggs like free-
    Falling seeds
    Drop from me
    When I am
    The tree
    I AM the perfect
    Camouflagee
    Or am I
    The tree?

    ©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved

  6. Laura, I am offering Day 22, Day 21, and Day 1 at http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2016/02/daily-writing-workout.html.

    Shortcuts to the poems:

    Day 22

    hidden on a tree
    game playing with predators
    camouflage ante
    ©CVarsalona, 2016

    Day 21

    Giddy-up Delight

    Tiny, old-fashioned ponies
    tethered to a ring
    grace the streets of Portland
    as a usual thing.
    Bemused by horsey antics
    on the streets of town
    I thought of childhood memories
    and carousels renowned.
    ©CVarsalona, 2016

    Day 1

    delicate lacy treasures
    graced my lining decades ago
    when ladies’ gloves were in vogue-
    some partner boxes carved
    with etchings were showpieces-
    mine was rough-hewn,
    dovetailed, and sturdy
    suitable for travel-
    a proud bearer
    of a treasure
    in time
    ©CVarsalona, 2016

  7. Jone says:

    My father grew up in Lodi, NJ. His father was the mayor of Lodi in the early 1900’s. Been to the Patterson silk factories. I have a similar sewing machine.

  8. Jessica Bigi says:

    Day 22 poem By Jessica Bigi the words should be foo centered

    Walking Stick

    One
    Two
    Three
    Pick
    Up
    Sticks
    Walking
    On stilts
    Eating
    French-fried
    Sticks
    Making
    Silly
    Pitchers
    Out of
    Pretzel
    Sticks
    Laughing
    Out louden
    At the
    Funniest
    Stick
    I have see
    Walking on
    Stick lags
    Up our
    Apple
    Tree

  9. Linda Baie says:

    Day 22

    Unrequited

    At this time it’s trying hard
    to find a proper mate.
    Crawling slowly up a tree,
    it spies a winsome date.

    But brownish gray, tall, thin and rough
    tree twigs tend to trick
    the hidden branching insect
    we call the walking stick.
    Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

  10. […] For those of you who are new to my blog, please read my introductory post about the February daily write-in. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 4 FOUND OBJECTS at this post. […]

  11. Jessica Bigi says:

    Day 24
    Poem by Jessica Bigi

    Seasons of Our Lives

    We rest in woven words
    Of those we love
    How’s wings of love cradled us
    When home seams distant
    We wrap our selves
    In balking memories of
    A home we once remembered
    Nests of hope on the
    windowsills of our hearts
    For in the springs of our live
    Robbin’s build their nest
    At summers end their hatchling
    Fly into new begins of life
    Reminding us the our lives and
    homes must change as each season
    folds into new begging
    We rest in woven words
    Of those we love

  12. […] For those of you who are new to my blog, please read my introductory post about the February daily write-in. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 4 FOUND OBJECTS at this post. […]

  13. […] This year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. For those of you who are new to the project, please read my introductory post. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 4 FOUND OBJECTS at this post. […]

  14. […] This year’s theme has been FOUND OBJECTS. For those of you who are finding this project for the first time, please read my introductory post. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 4 FOUND OBJECTS at this post. […]

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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