This poem flowed from an observation I made on how we connect, communicate and weave our human histories together - about how we pass things on to each other, learn from each other and recognize ourselves in each other…
It all began with loom bands: those little, brightly-colored, rubber bands that became the latest fad a few months ago and seem to have taken over the world. This poem is about how they became the focus of two people, and how that spoke to me in a very precious way.
One of the two people was my grandmother - almost ninety years old - and the other, my daughter, almost nine. They don’t know each other as well as I’d like; our family doesn’t live, geographically speaking, in close proximity to its respective parts. We were visiting my parents and my daughter, Keziah, obviously didn’t know quite how to reach out to Granny, who was feeling quite shaky, after a fall.
Keziah disappeared for ten minutes and, when she reappeared, presented Granny with a loom band bracelet that she’d made while she’d been out of the room. I wasn’t sure what Granny would make of it, being quite a conventional ninety year old woman, but her face lit up and she immediately put the bracelet on her wrist. (I later learned that she kept it there for days afterwards!) Keziah then proceeded to sit down close to Granny and teach her how to weave the loom bands. Granny (who used to be a dressmaker and very skilled with her hands) became animated and seemed quite delighted. Keziah, too, relaxed as they laughed and talked together.
Earlier that day, I’d watched, through the French windows, my mother doing yoga in the garden, whilst I did my own yoga practice. It struck me, with a sweet warmth, how wonderful it is, that we influence one another - share with, learn from and teach each other - and how that’s such a beautiful, profound part of the way we, as humans - as family - connect.
I learn from my parents and I learn from my children. I learn from mistakes and achievements - my own and other people’s. Somehow, watching those loom bands being woven together into brightly-coloured strands, and seeing the light in my grandmother’s eyes, brought it home to me just how intricately and wonderfully woven we are, in a family that includes every single human being who’s ever lived.
by Ruth Calder Murphy
They were almost ninety
and almost nine,
sitting happy side-by-side -
one who’s lived a long-life-time,
who’s felt the turning of the tide -
of life and death -
and felt the final breath of cherished hearts
so many, many times depart…
And one who’s just beginning now
to understand the why and how -
to start to step along the way.
They sat there, as the middle of the day
passed on towards its end
and learnt - and taught - the ways of loom bands,
how to pull and bend and twist -
and all the while, Granny wore
the one made for her - on her wrist.
Their smiles were bright
- and bridged the breach of years
and all those hopes and fears
and unspilled tears
that weigh heavy on a century of memory -
and something more profound than brightly colored bands
was woven there,
in smiles and busy hands.
|Photograph of the author's grandmother and daughter, Keziah|
Ruth Calder Murphy is a writer, artist, music teacher, wife and mother living in London, UK. Her life is wonderfully full of creativity and low-level chaos. She is the author of two published novels, The Scream and The Everlasting Monday, several books of poetry and one or two as-yet unpublished novels. More of Ruth' Spiritual poetry can be found in her book, Spirit Song and the soon-to-be-released sequel, "River Song". She is passionate about celebrating the uniqueness of people, questioning the unquestionable and discovering new perspectives on old wonders. She is learning to ride the waves that come along—peaks and troughs—and is waking up to just how wonderful life really is. You can visit Ruth and view more of her art on her website, or on her writer's page on Facebook. All her books are available on Amazon, here.