I like to think that the faint
click-clack of the needles
is a sound passed through generations,
passed along with the cries of labour,
the silent frustrated scream,
the harmonious soprano laughter.
An audible backdrop, a constant hum
amid the ongoing cacophony of history.
It was there – that clacking –
along with the sound of the guillotine’s drop,
as women watched organised horror
without dropping a stitch.
Not so much a demonstration
but of a hard-won art,
the need to form perfect stitches
in any condition.
In the present day, I am not
driven by cold to hook fingers,
gnarled and work-worn
around the needles, coming away
from the grasp with hands
bent in perpetual claws.
Were my stitches to be unspooled,
no secret codes would emerge,
knotted with grim determination
into the wool, knitted
back into place.
But the soundtrack remains,
as does the cacophony.
We still bear witness
They call us monsters,
which is to say,
the hands that remain steady
in the face of violence,
the sharp pull of the wool,
the thrust of the needle,
the gentle, unerring
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