The quilt

Fashioned from the multicolored, tattered, rag-ends of cloth,
the tiny, odd little pieces are sewn on the straight seam—
shifted, spun, moved about and fitted—
stitch by stitch, patch by patch,
the pattern repeated over the larger whole.

A quilter is a lover who sees not the plan but the fact
and slowly calls the dream forth from
naught but the meanest scraps of nothing,
binding them together so that in the end
it grows to wrap the whole earth ’round, safe,
as it sleeps in the arms of eternity.

A very dear Bahá’í friend was ill for several years suffering from debilitating migraines. During the illness she still managed, with her mother’s help, to produce a stunningly beautiful quilt into which she poured the emotional experience of being so sick. I was particularly drawn to the small reflective circles that she had scattered into the design to designate the explosions of light that would go on in her head when the migraines were at their worst.

For the first time in my life I contemplated just how hard making a quilt must be—working from the simplest of elements to bring forth objects of beauty. It is hard work requiring patience, planning and a sense of assurance that by the end of the project the design while meet the vision. A thing I call ‘faith.’

Thank you for reading The quilt. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2012 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2012 by John Etheridge,


Filed under Poetry

4 responses to “The quilt

  1. Cindy

    John, this really struck a cord with me…well done!!!!! It reminds me of a great Newfoundland TV Tourism Commercial where the screen opens with a lady hanging quilts on the cloths line and smiling as she sees them all different yet flapping in the good strong breeze and the commentator captions, ” ,,,,Newfoundland, where all priceless art is not hanging on museum walls,”!!!!
    Your poem reminds me of life – true beauty fashioned by the threads of our daily experiences, weaved together over each day, each week , each year year until we have our own tapestry of life, with lots of extra threads, mismatched colours and wonky shapes….making the finished product not what we started out to make but a finished product that is simply perfect in its complexity and depth – an individual and priceless piece of art……
    Thanks for being a valuable, colourful and tensile strength thread in my life’s quilt!!!


  2. You are too sweet and I love you very, very much for it! Thank you.

  3. That is very kind of you. Thank you.