Monday, October 21, 2019

Gwyneth Lewis

Gwyneth Lewis is a Welsh poet who completed her studies at Cambridge, Harvard, Columbia, and Oxford. She writes both in English and Welsh; her first English-language collection Parables & Faxes (1995) won the Aldeburgh Festival Prize. She was appointed as the first National Poet of Wales for 2005/2006.

Her words “In these stones horizons sing” appear in six-foot letters on the face of the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff — along with a message in Welsh which has been translated as “Creating truth like glass from inspiration's furnace” — reflecting cultural aspirations for the people of Wales.

She has written two non-fiction books: Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book about Depression (2002), and Two in a Boat: A Marital Rite of Passage (2005).

Gwyneth Lewis’s poetry collection Sparrow Tree (2011, Bloodaxe) won the Roland Matthias Poetry Award (which is awarded for poetry from Wales in English). It is the source for the following poem.


"Knitting's like everything," it's tempting to say.
No. Knitting's like knitting. Sure, there's cosmology

in Norwegian sweaters with vertical stars,
but as science that doesn't get us far.

If space is made of superstrings
then God's a knitter and everything

is craft. Perhaps we can darn
tears in the space-time continuum

and travel down wormholes to begin
to purl in another dimension's skein.

But no. There are things you can't knit:
a spaceship. A husband, though the wish

might be strong and the softest thread
would be perfect for the hair on his head,

another, tougher, that washes well
for his pecs and abdominals. You can stitch a soul

daily and unpick mistakes,
perform some moral nip and tucks —

forgiveness. Look out. Your Frankenstein
might turn and start knitting you again.

This post was suggested by my friend Burl Horniachek.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.