Sheila sits on the monument
in Bucky Doo
and knits a scarf
a bowl for offerings
at her feet
she winds her wool
passionately for Tibet
where a gentle people suffer
and yearn for freedom
and the scarf grows
longer and longer
with hope in every stitch
and it glows
in rainbow colours
like Joseph’s coat
to save a nation

Rosie opens her bags
and out tumbles
textured colour
cotton, wool, exotic silk
slips through our hands
soft and subtle to the skin
bamboo needles gently bend
warm and pliable
in stiff and clumsy fingers
she speaks to us
of taking time
to let the stress dissolve
the tension drain away
with healthy, hopeful
therapeutic knitting

Strawberry shows us
the bright pink wool
we only need to
knit it 60cm wide
a 100 long
joined with others
it becomes a band of hope
a symbol of peace
encircling perimeter fence
casting out fear
our public statement
wool against weapons
each day each week
we add
a few more rows
and so it grows

In Bothenhampton
they knit and natter
(or natter more than knit)
cardies for kids
and mittens
scarves and scatter cushions
dolls and delightful waistcoats
for teddies and toddlers
bags bright with berries
and bunches of flowers
and like the knitting
the money grows
for Mencap
amidst the laughter
and the knitting natter

In the waiting room
or the hospital bed
I knit a never-ending
assortment of this and that
and demonstrate to nurses
who’ve forgotten
or never learned
the art and craft of knitting
of which I know very little
with each stitch
shoulders relax
dis-ease slips away
and I contemplate
life, love, the future
through little loops
of hope

Jo O’Farrell

February 2014
(written for Windows of Hope concert for The Uparo Project, medical centre in N.Tanzania)