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Made in Northampton, Western Australia

The ladies of Northampton meet on Thursday mornings
in the Arts and Craft hall, where they crochet, knit and sew.
Their hands, well capable of heavier tasks,
precisely move, apparently unsupervised,
as conversation visits current happenings,
narrated, smiled at, praised or disapproved.
Their finely finished, neatly labelled work
is on display for sale at modest prices:
place mats, table cloths and (though today the heat is fierce)
a range of brightly coloured winter shawls.
Each item is a piece of present evidence
of older knowledge gained from willing passers-on.

When I consider all the hours I’ve spent
attempting to reduce to words some thought
which life or books tossed at me, saying,
‘Here, make something, if you can, of this,’
and fretting at their paucity of yield,
I sometimes think of Thursdays in Northampton
and the women sitting easily together:
quiet voices, rapid fingers, making.