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Clipper Ship on Stormy Seas
by John Carney

Bundles of wool cut into segments, filling a box
Grouped by color, wrapped and numbered
One by one, given a new home on the canvas
Fold over hook, insert, loop, pull, and adjust
Space by space, row by row, color by color
Compulsion, obsession, suppression
Move on to the next row

Fear of stopping drives the progress
A world of people, places and things
Waits for the hook to be put down
Keep moving until the fingers are raw
Seventeen days later and almost done
Fighting through blisters, cuticles bloody
Loose wool lint coating clothes, chair, and floor

Began with the sky, ending with the green blue sea
Light and dark greens, creamy foam topped waves rolling past
A small JC in the bottom corner finished off the piece
Withdraw preserved in strands of wool
Mounted on the wall to always remember
The pain of beginning a new life with choice
A clipper ship on stormy seas now safe at port

A move and then another, a couple more to come
Its new residence a shelf in my parent’s basement — forgotten
Cardboard boxes are never safe in floodwaters — everything ruined
Decades later another flood and the need for repairs
Demanded the first floor be cleared, boxed and stored
And there on the top shelf of the hallway closet it sat
Folded, safe and sound, the colors just as bright

The first seventeen days of my new life preserved
Strand by strand, hook by hook, fingers raw by nightfall
The sinking ship that was my life prior, reprogrammed
Thirty-five years later, still sailing along with purpose
Row by row, day by day, choice by choice
The years line up and life takes on an image such as this —
Gratitude for the reminder of what was lost, and then found

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The Clipper Ship on Stormy Seas I had taken recently.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: After multiple moves, the hook rug I made ended up boxed and stored in my parents’ basement. After a heavy rain, the basement was completely flooded and everything stored in the lower part of the house was ruined. I knew that the rug, an important distraction for me from the obsession of habits that were drowning me, was gone. Last year, my mother had another flood that caused damage to her living space and everything had to be boxed up and moved into storage so the house could be redone. While packing up the hall closet, I found a box on the shelf that contained the rug I thought ruined long ago.

John Carney

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Carney has been writing as self-expression for the past eight years. He began writing as a way to pass time on the train and his passion has been ignited by the reward of finding the blank page filled with ideas, emotions, and thoughts that somehow make their way through the pen to the paper. He has a self-published book of poems titled Pen to Paper, and has recently begun writing and editing short stories from his youth, and working through edits of his first historical fiction novel. He recently took part and was included in the Silver Birch Press “Me in a Hat” and “Me, At 17” Series.