My Mother’s Quilt

The Quilt  written by Kathleen Powers, May 2003

I love how this poem uses quilting as a metaphor. We might have been dogmatic and precise, even ripping apart our efforts if they did not meet the mark.  Overtime we can replace exactness with vulnerability as our authentic selves emerge.  We need not fear being seen for who we are and what we have become.  This is the part to be treasured.



My mother’s quilt, begun with pride—

How flat it lies on this left side,

The patches square, the miters true.

No stitches show where pink meets blue.


But on the right some straight lines curve.

See how the stitches jerk and swerve?

Feel how the corners lump to touch?

The pink and blue are really bunched.


The left side is the Mom I knew,

So excellent in all she’d do,

A model how to live a life

As quilter, daughter, mother, wife.


The right side though entrances me

With imperfections plain to see.

So unlike Mom when she was young,

This is the Mom that she’d become.


On left side, Mom was feeling fine.

On right, she worked in her decline.

She pieced them both through good and bad.

And now this quilt is what I have.


Her fears were gone.  That’s what I think,

When Mom stopped ripping blue from pink.

Perfection had become too tough.

A quilt with flaws was good enough.


Though folks say this is not Mom’s best,

This quilt I like more than the rest.

I love both parts, the left, the right.

But right is what I hold at night.


Allemande Left

Allemande Left lives in the eastern US with her guitar-strumming husband. Allemande Left refers to the beginning steps in a square dance. Dancers turn to their corner partner, clasp left hands as they glide past each other, then clasp right hands with the next person as they weave through the square of dancers--half going clockwise and half counterclockwise. It is a way to loosen up and meet the other dancers. As the caller sings, "Allemande Left and Away We Go."

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1 Response

  1. LMA says:

    This is gorgeous. I love the idea that we embody multiple parts of ourselves at a time, and that our vulnerability is something that should not be hidden, but celebrated. I also really love the image the poem is paired with. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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