Woolgathering afternoon:
All I’ve accomplished, all,
Is to untangle a wine-dark skein
And coil it into a ball.

I did not knit a swatch
For gauge—or cast a stitch—
Or pick a plausible pattern out,
I just unworked one hitch

After another, and went
Brailling along the maze,
Over, under, twist and turn,
To where the ending frays.

It’s always best to leave
No glitches in the plot;
Sailors tell you that the yarn
Is weakest at the knot.

Open, do not tug
The little nooses closed,
Tease the cat from her cradle, lead
The minotaur by the nose

Out of the labyrinth
Through which all heroes travel,
And where the waiting wife will learn
To ravel’s to unravel.

Out of the complicated,
Roll the smooth, round One,
So when it drops out of your lap
It brightly comes undone,

Leaping over the floor
Like swift ships outward-bound,
Unfurling the catastrophe
That aches to be rewound.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 31 Number 8, on page 34
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