Most people have some small possessions of little monetary value, but great joy is attached to them, either because they please the senses or because they are associated with a happy memory or a loved person. Using and touching these things enables the owner to enjoy a sense of living in the moment, which is a key aspect of hygge.
I, who’ve inherited nothing, except
this nose more arched than a harp,
these hips made to cradle a life,
find in these old things enough
to still my quivering beak, which
pricks in every direction of a map;
enough to soothe the soup of my belly,
which craves to feed to lips of a babe.
Be still. These delicate, finely-wrought
treasures live in a cupboard that’s cradle-
sized. My eyes sip at them daily,
when making tea, or slipping the coats
from potatoes. Two cruets, as white as
atoms; twin egg cups, as blue as forever.
The bowls I bought back in Kyoto,
black and red, lacquered like beads.
A glass patterned with the queen
of hearts, fashioned by hand in the
50s. An iron teapot, for ceremonies
by kimono-clad women, or samurai.
Is there a difference? I twirl my knife
and hum, keep my pattern of daily
ritual before these sitting things,
their bodies as sturdy as Buddhas.
Cleared from the homes of the dead,
they are small joys which, in my
small world, loom large. The dust
which rests on them, settles me.
Relics and remnants, shy souvenirs;
yet their presence calms as I cut carrots,
slice bread, my bird nose inert for a
minute, my stomach quiet for a time.
Her Sewing Box
Propeller bias binding, a packet each of white, royal blue and pink,
3 yards, unopened, cellophaned and colour-fast; a strip of Velcro;
Best Brass Pins, Lillikins, stabbed through their Wreath & Lion sheet;
Cards of silver poppers; two more of hooks and eyes; a buckle blank;
Nylusta nylon stocking thread, extra fine, colour eight;
Petersham and Rufflette tape; a pair of scissors, plated gold,
Shaped like a peering stork; a crochet hook; some lace;
A Gold Flake tin, crammed tight with dark grey mending wool,
Two khaki buttons, five brass, a length of purple ribbon;
A dozen silver thimbles, each cupped inside the next
And wrapped in tissue; a twist of jet black bugle beads;
Large safety pins in silver and smaller ones in gold;
A sheet of iron-on transfers – a lamb, a dog, a horse;
A bodkin; bobbins; a quick unpick; a shuttered zip;
The old French knitting doll, with half-worn smile;
Babies’ buttons shaped as trains and stars and berries;
And so much thread – Coats and Sylko, Drima, Anchor, Gutermann –
In party colours, scarlet, turquoise, rose. And so much thread.