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E D Ridgell

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The Antique Tapestry
by E D Ridgell
Sunday, October 31, 2010
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I'm an antique dealer of some thirty years now and this is a poem I wrote after a visit to an Amish Farm in Lancaster County, PA.


The Antique Tapestry
You are a mystery of intricacy.
My jewelry loop moves over the surface and
There is nothing that does not fascinate me.
St. George slaying the dragon, in an Amish home?
Is this not idolatry? You seem not to care,
Anxious for the sale, one of many things that fit better into a lot.
I count more than twelve colors and the wool is interwoven with a thread,
Black and nettled throughout holding everything together.
I see no other foundation. I marvel at such craftsmanship.
Your boys, handsome and blond
Contrast with faded dark pants with darned holes, here and there,
Worn, unashamedly. All of you have that beautiful complexion.
There is little dirt but a patina that is overall and lovely.
I think the wool is homespun, but I am uncertain,
And there is that one color that does not look naturally dyed.
It struck me that there is no adult male,
And I wonder if I’m shunned dealing with a woman.
I buy your put-up delicacies though willingly paying twice a store shelf price.
I know already I want to purchase it. I want to study it in a detailed leisure.
Its value right now is just a reflection of your needs and impatience with my deliberation.
I want to know its history. I want the key to a mystery.
You are silent when quizzed but you don’t look away.
I ask too much and remember your hospitality.
I will not press you on this. I sense this is a private matter.
It is old, yes, very old, but in a condition that reflects much care.
I see one or two small holes before the window light but of no real concern.
I realize I am spending too much time perusing its back. I must flip it over.
You have begun to direct the boys to box and carry the things to the van.
Your pencil moves quickly and I see a struggle with the addition.
I must not loiter and be out of here. I can feel you want me gone.
I gaze again at the motif and continue to wonder how it came into Amish hands.
It is continental, I’m sure of it. My mind spins at the beauty of it, and
I am already hooked into every detail and am eager to make away with my treasure.
You stand watching me negotiate the bumpy drive, not aware of the layer of history
Just added to the diary of this tapestry. You are relieved to be rid of it, and I am glad to Rescue it. Your darned holes are contemporary. Mine are the open holes of history.
                                                                                                   © 2007 by E.D. Ridgell





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