Thursday, May 2, 2013

Night Dress

Under a half-egg moon
I'm out with a 46-year-old dress
my mother hand-stitched for my sister Kath
to wear in my sister Ann's wedding —
rinsed clear of its accumulation of years
and freshly pressed, I let it float down
to a bed of deadnettles and bluebells
on the last April evening of the month.
It's chilly and I've not donned a sweater —
so I work quickly, the flash illuminating
a dark garden in bursts of surprise light.
I drag over a green metal chair
and position it in the unsteady earth,
climb warily up to a better vantage,
breathing my balance
until I'm just above the lace skirt
and pink-ribboned bodice.
I think of how my mother would disapprove
of her stitch-work tossed to foliage,
and how she'd tut-tut at my middle-aged self
perched in moonlight on a rickety chair.
What she doesn't know — gone these long years —
is that I handle this dress with a reverence
saved for relics — which this is.
Done, I gather up the rustling taffeta,
cradle it in my arms, leave satin trailing
in lemon balm, sweet woodruff —


  1. Earth to earth
    Dust to dust
    Taffeta to tansy


  2. Earth to earth
    Dust to dust
    Writing it down
    is a must

  3. Hello T, It's 8.20 am here and I have just written a post about a shirt I hung in a tree. A memory I had forgotten about until I saw your wonderful dress in the night photograph. The poem has left me wondering whether you are planning on leaving it there?


    1. Ah, no, it's already safely back in the house. This dress is one to keep!