The Quilting Bee

    “The Quilting Bee,” Ensign, Feb. 1998, 61

    The Quilting Bee

    The women of our ward

    welcome each new bride

    with a quilt. Elbow to elbow

    they sit around the frame

    imprinting the cloth with stitches.

    They bandy news items back and forth

    like tennis players across a court—

    new babies, illnesses, budgets,

    schedules, clothes, and menus—

    stretching the fabric of their lives.

    Yet they dream and laugh and love.

    The pristine coverlet spans their laps

    like an unblemished prairie,

    a wilderness to be conquered.

    The women know it will be years

    before the quilt is really finished;

    they have witnessed the process before:

    the residue of bitter tears;

    oil from hands pressed in evening prayer;

    milk and dampness from nursing babes;

    colors faded from washings and sunlight

    conspiring against the fresh, unflawed

    coverlet and couple.

    The women bleed a little with every quilt,

    their hearts pricked by memories.

    Still they dream and laugh and love

    and quilt.