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The Prayse Of The Needle
(24 August 1578 – 1653 / Gloucester, England)

The Prayse Of The Needle

Poem By John Taylor

To all dispersed sorts of arts and trades
I write the needles prayse (that never fades).
So long as children shall be got or borne,
So long as garments shall be made or worne,
So long as hemp or flax, or sheep shall bear
Their linen woolen fleeces yeare by yeare,
So long as silk-wormes, with exhausted spoile,
Of their own entrails for man's gaine shall toyle,
Yea till the world be quite dissolv'd and past,
So long at least, the needles' use shall last.

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The Needle Under the bed, her sewing box. Near the bottom, a shirt, Pressed and folded with a patch pinned Covering an elbow busted out from within. The shirt long ago had become too small But somehow it remained As a memory of something for us all. In the small cardboard box The tools of her trade, Scissor, measure, chalk, And of course; needles and thread. And she said, “Thread the needle for me. My eyes aren’t what they use to be.” Taking the white cotton thread, Casting off a bit with which to work Then with scissors trimming the end So that it could be shaped with wetted fingers. Until the thread, rolled til the end Was smooth and tapered round The chosen needle, held between The thumb and second finger in such a way That it could be rotated to catch the light of day In the needle’s eye. No camel or dromedary need apply To pass this way. Instead the thread is brought to bear And with gentle twisting find its way Through the eye. That which emerges from the other side, Is captured by the index finger Holding it against the needle To prevent its escape. With the other hand, a length is drawn To equal the amount that will be sewn. Snip off the allotted thread And sink the needle into the cushion It’s done and no other words spoken And even now silence fills the room. How I wish I could hear, Please thread the needle, dear.” s


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