Crochet and Poetry

Today’s adventures by Maggie Smith
Met a 95 year old lady for the first time today and she tried to teach me how to crochet “With knitting I can watch the telly or read a book but with crochet you have to count the stitches. Crochet makes me concentrate” she explained. Showing me large crocheted circles of blue, yellow, pink and white with perfect pattern and even tension throughout.

Sometime later, I realised just how much concentration you needed to make the base ten chain stitches into increasing triangular panels. Also that the math of the regular pattern with each increasing circuit needed total mindfulness. I had to admit defeat.

Today’s completed crossword was by her side and her favourite TV show Pointless was due soon.

Crocheting without glasses, she could also read the radio times schedules and told me about the lives of the two regular Pointless presenters. “There is a lot of rubbish on the TV sometimes” she said “But I like hearing voices in the house”.

At the Care Centre a withdrawn lady sat in her room .After a few melodeon tunes with no response, I got down on the floor and met her gaze. “Just lovely” she said. “My husband played the melodeon”

“Where was Danns an Rathaid” I asked “On the pier” she said “They could hear the music across the water and they would come”

Knowing this ninety year old lady had composed Gaelic poetry I enquired about the view from her home and four beautiful verses about the local landscape flowed.

I then prompted the theme of cianalas an islander’s homesickness in Glasgow …three verses of another one of her own poems

Then feigning forgetfulness I recited a verse which she had given me five years previously, “Oh brist ‘s gum briste ..
”Am post” she says “S chaidh an geata chun na croich”. Not the verse I was expecting and the context made me roar with laughter. We shared the joke about the dilapidated gate.

For the first moment today, I caught sight of the spark in her eye, I recognised it from our previous acquaintance.

Then scoping local favourite choruses . Hai o huh o cha ghabh mise an Uigeach I hesitated, and the lady contributed the last line with full volume Cha dean iad càil ach rùdhadh na monadh.

Another verse: Hai o hiaram cha ghabh mise Siarach halting I heard the last line of the verse, same volume Cha dean e càil ach biathadh nan òisgean.
We had a giggle weighing up the prowess of an Uig man against a Westside man.

What a privilege to spend an hour with this fountain of song from my own culture. Bha an t-seinn anns na daoine . “We were a family who sang songs” she volunteered

Taking my leave, the care assistant having enquired about responses during my visit, was taken aback by the result of my elicitation techniques.
Bu mhath do naidheachd! That has given us a big lift, this lady has not been speaking for weeks and we didn’t think she remembered anything much, far less verses of her own lovely poetry.

As I left the caring warmth of their hospitality, I heard “Please come and bring forth the songs again, very soon”

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