Make, remake, and make again

I have unraveled and restarted the hat I’m knitting four times now. I made the mistake of trusting the pattern and being led astray as a result. Caston on using dpns. Why? I have perfectly good circulars and prefer them and am more dextrous with them. Okay, start again. Cast on (on circulars) the exact number of stitches the pattern says I need for a head as big as mine. Start working the K2P2 rib … and be pretty certain almost from the start that it’s too many stitches, that I’ll be able to fit my head and a few others besides into that knitted circle. Keep knitting until I can no longer deny the foolishness of continuing. Okay, start again. Cast on a significantly decreased number of stitches, make it through the band and then switch to larger needles and stockinette stitch … only to really hate how the stockinette looks. Okay. Oy. pick up stitches at the top of the band and then unravel the stockinette and continue with the larger needles in the K2P2 rib. It’s finally starting to look like something I’m going to want to put on my head. We’ll see how it goes.

Sometimes patterns are perfect. I don’t need to do any adjusting, I can just follow the instructions that have been written by someone who is much better at pattern-making than I am. Perfect. And then there are times like with this hat pattern. I have no idea why this pattern is so bad. Everything about it reads correctly, sounds likely to create exactly the ha I wanted. And then the actual product is a mess. So then I have to start using things I know — I like circulars better than double-pointed needles for example — and start making adjustments to what’s written in the pattern.

And I say all of that to say that the same is likely true with the ghazal. I know what the rules are. I’ve got them written out at the bottom of this and every other post for April in case I forget. I know the rules, and I’ve been making every effort to follow them. But in this past week I’ve found that I have an easier entree into the poem when I let myself muss up the rules a little, at least at first. Each time I’ve pushed through with an assonance or a near rhyme, I’ve been able to keep moving … and then I’ve come back and found a word that says what I want and fits with the rules. I need to remember that I don’t have to rigidly follow what’s written down. Sometimes, the way forward requires a detour, requires that I follow my own path.

Red Sky in Morning

A neon sign forever blaring: “DON’T TRUST ME!”
You’re warned at every turn, despairing. Don’t trust me.

There’s nothing to see here, just keep it moving.
Worry for yourself, how you’re faring. Don’t trust me.

Why do you insist on attempting connection?
You won’t be rewarded for your caring. Don’t trust me.

I call myself out, wave you away from my trouble.
Look in the mirror, confidence tearing. Don’t trust me.

I, Stacie, am the warning hue the sailors watch.
Rusted and angry, there’s no comparing. Don't trust me.

When I was at Saltonstall for my 2019 residency, I opened my desk drawer one day and found a message that I would do well to remember daily.


National Poetry Month 2022: the Ghazal

As I’ve done for more than ten years (what?!), I’ve chosen a poetic form, and I’m going to try to write a poem in that form every day for the month of April … and I’m saying that boldly, knowing that I’ve already failed. I couldn’t find my way through to a poem on Day One, but I’m determined to continue.

The “Ghazal” is the form I’ve chosen for this year. Here is the structure and a little backstory (thank you Poetry Foundation):

“Originally an Arabic verse form dealing with loss and romantic love, medieval Persian poets embraced the ghazal, eventually making it their own. Consisting of syntactically and grammatically complete couplets, the form also has an intricate rhyme scheme. Each couplet ends on the same word or phrase (the radif), and is preceded by the couplet’s rhyming word (the qafia, which appears twice in the first couplet). The last couplet includes a proper name, often of the poet’s. In the Persian tradition, each couplet was of the same meter and length, and the subject matter included both erotic longing and religious belief or mysticism.”

Should be interesting!

2 thoughts on “Make, remake, and make again

  1. You are much more persistent than I am in knitting. I HATE to start over in knitting. And I like the way you understand, in writing, how bending the rules a bit at first, then going back and seeing how a word change can fit the rule better than your first thought.

    Like

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