Embroidery. A Poem by Margaret Widdemer

Photograph of Margaret Widdemer, 1884-1978. Photograph of Margaret Widdemer, 1884-1978.

Margaret Widdemer (1884-1978) was an American poet and novelist who first came to public notice with a poem called The Factories, which was about child labour. She won a Pulitzer Prize (actually, known at that time as the Columbia University Prize) in 1919 for her collection of poems entitled The Old Road to Paradise. Included among the poems (under the section Womenfolk) was one, simply called Embroidery.

Embroidery, by Margaret Widdemer (1918)

SHE sits and makes pink roses with her thread
And wonders what to do, her heart astir,
What road to take, where roads branch close ahead,
And how to know her true love calling her;
Whether to follow thorny paths (but sweet
The young wild heart's way!) or to fling the door
Wide to love's placid tread with wonted feet,
And how to build her life forevermore.

The rose-sprung needle keeps its darting deft . . .
When life has gone whichever way it goes,
Of all her wonderings shall be only left
The texture and the pattern of this rose:
And when her old eyes see its flowering spread,
Dull-faded, a known decking of her room,
(Wherever that may be then– all words said,
All life made certain then until the tomb!)

Something shall clutch her still of youth and pain,
From that far-thrilled girl-day, and she will see
Its shape grow in that breathless hour again
With all her ordered years were still to be;
From that brown silken flower shall flush in death
Youth with its rosy terrors quivering gay,
And she shall think, set free for one swift breath–
'Ah, yes, I made it on that very day!'

Source: WIDDEMER, Margaret (1918), The Old Road to Paradise, New York: Henry Holt & Company, p. 63.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 8th July 2016).


Last modified on Friday, 19 May 2017 18:37