Soul Woven

For Poets United prompt 11:  Pain

This is not a new poem, but one that came immediately to mind when I saw the prompt. It remains true for me, even after years since its creation. It was published in my first small volume of poems titled Splitting Darkness. Here, I have added a stanza that looks back on that journey of reweaving a soul.

Soul Woven

Broken heart isn’t broken, of course.
     Rather, holes in a soul viciously
     ripped loose from attachments. Threads
     dangle in ragged-edged disarray.

One must travel with numb fingers
     across once whole cloth
     without a clue how to mend
     what has been rendered useless.

Used to watch my mother darn socks,
     thrusting a burnt out light bulb
     into cloth cavity, weaving new thread
     with needle into broken edges,
     patiently working back and forth
     until hole was filled and worn
     sock could be worn again.

Those woven-by-hand patches were stronger
     than older fabric. Could feel
     resistance at heel and toe,
     but know with certainty that here,
     at least, was safety from further rupture.

Sometimes, with no more than flicker
     of small candle, held high in trembling
     fingers, those dangling threads of soul
     can be found, carefully rewoven, anchored
     on other side of void created when soul
     is ripped loose from moorings. And as with
     worn sock, that reworking brings new strength
     to all those broken places.

Elizabeth Crawford  8/22/10

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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12 Responses to Soul Woven

  1. neil reid says:

    So so simple a topic for a poem, yet so universal of course. And I near think you could have even stopped with just your first line Elizabeth, “Broken heart isn’t broken, of course.” Of course! But we do like usually to hear more words, and your story of mom mending socks was a wonderful image and shared analogy.

    Not long back, read a book by Terry Tempest Williams, “Healing a Broken World”. Breath-taking and breath-giving, both. Most ambitious (and challenging) poem that ever came to mind for me to address comes from her book – story of a post-massacre Rwanda visit she did a while back. Haven’t found those words as yet but I know they are there. About how broken becomes redeemed!

    As every road once led to Rome, so every pain can also led to home (too trite? but true).

    And yes, it is the person who has weathered storms who can emphasize more. Good of you to share this poem here.


  2. 1sojournal says:


    just finished responding to your comment on my other site, lol. Healing a Broken World always begins with the small world in which we ourselves live. Am seeing some of that healing in my small world this past week and marveling at how things get rewoven, reworked and do become stronger in the process. Pretty sure that’s what prompted my response to the word pain, and this older poem. I always knew there was another ending to the poem, but until tonight, couldn’t quite find it. Time and age and the wisdom that does come from both have a great deal to do with that.

    And trite might mean:

    T imely
    R oad
    I nto
    T ruth
    E ternal

    One thing I have learned over the years, is that although we may have heard it before, that doesn’t mean we actually listened or even understood it. It takes many trips around and through a matter before we experience all of its depths.

    Thanks Neil, for reading and commenting. Glad you were the first to do so here.



  3. Mary says:

    My response will not be as depthful as Neil’s, but your poem brought to mind the times I used to watch my aunt darn socks. (My mother never did.) Today I don’t think anyone darns. Socks are throwaways when they have holes. I guess we dont think as much today about ‘reworking bringing new strength to broken places’ as people did in the old days. Wonderful poem, Elizabeth.


  4. 1sojournal says:

    Mary, I think that is one of the reasons I have always liked this poem. Too often we dismiss those areas of thought and feeling, simply because we’ve been there before and figure that once was enough and it must be something different that is tugging at us. We forget that life is like a series of layers, laid down, one atop the other, often with subtle new realities and understandings in each layer as we ourselves develop new awareness and understanding. And just as we got here, from there, we sometimes have to go back and revisit those other layers before we fully comprehend what those experiences really meant and how they actually affected us.

    As I said above, this is an old poem that seemed to me to as finished as I could make it. Yet this whole small volume of poetry, from which the poem was taken, is an attempt to look at the grieving process and gain knowledge from it. I am not at all surprised that now that I am once again within that realm of grieving and loss, this little book of poems has become a source of healing and even further inspiration for me. It was wonderful to finally find an ending to the piece and to know that I have learned lessons about loss in the time since it was originally written.

    Thanks for the comments, Mary,



  5. Peggy Goetz says:

    I like this Elizabeth, especially the comparison to darning the socks. Good work!


  6. 1sojournal says:

    Thanks Peggy,

    When I originally wrote the poem, I almost rejected the sock darning imagery. It seemed so practical and homey, not fitting with the idea of Soul Work. But, as will often happen, one writes it, brings it to some level of life, and then gets to learn it by walking through what was only an image to begin with. And now I believe it is more important than ever.



  7. gospelwriter says:

    I like the way you start the poem, the first line putting its bald statement out there, just begging the reader to differ, or alternatively, to listen. This is me, listening, soul-sister. Every word pounds home its truth. Loved the sock-darning analogy you use. A heart is not strong that has never been tested (or at least, it might be, but how would we ever know?)


  8. 1sojournal says:


    we can’t know, not unless we are the one curved around it, trying to provide shelter while also attempting to stand up straight. Amazing, isn’t it? Soul-sister, I like the sound of that, a lot.



  9. Ellen says:

    I love the dangling threads of the soul…
    These is so darn true and powerful~
    I like how you used a memory to tie in your message~


  10. 1sojournal says:

    Thanks so much Ellen, and yes it is true and I find it even more powerful on a personal level now.



  11. Rashmi says:

    Oh! my dear I just have become your fan…Nothing to say..


  12. 1sojournal says:

    Rashmi, a fan? Keep it up and I’ll be blushing soon. And I’m way too old for that, lol. I love the fact that I can, at my age, leave anyone speechless, and for any reason. I think you just made my day.

    Thank you,



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