Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Poem: Mill Girl

Our guest blogger this week is local poet Daniel Patrick Murphy

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My aunt Catherine O'Connor Riley (her husband, my uncle Bill, was from the corner of Rock and Willie St. in the Acre) began to work in a cotton mill in her mid-teens and stopped in her mid-sixties. She worked from early morning until early evening, sometimes 12 hours a day 6 days a week. She had unassuming grit and iron determination and little freedom while working in the mill. This poem hopes, posthumously, to offer her a modicum of freedom.

Kathleen. Wake now.
Go weave your waving wings,
Taste the seeds, eat the buoyant blue,
Inhale the flaxflower scent of loom,
Sow your seeds in flight,
Flap your flaxen hair in air,
My butterfly, my Kathleen.

Dance up the airy ferns and rushes,
Dance up the fields of flaxflower bloom,
Wet your patterned wings with dampness,
Fly your supple self so fair,
Softly lace the darkened night,
When you were where,
My Kathleen, my siskin care.

Before you go, take one last dance in dreamy air,
Leave me lowly lapping wings,
Ascend and unfold.
Thread through growing light.
Let my fingers reach the dark,
When you were where,
My Kathleen, my linen queen.

--Daniel Patrick Murphy

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