Search this website

Treadle RSS


07 April, 2019: Treadle



by Linda Tuthill

In grandmother’s kitchen, I watch
thread unwind from a wooden spool
stamped Coats & Clark.
She pumps a treadle that makes
its own organ music.  Whir, whir,
the Singer purrs, an undertone
to kitchen clatter, Collie barking,
hens gluck glucking in the yard.
The machine hums in bursts
and spurts, abrupt stops
accompanied by a spasm
of Pennsy Dutch that startles air.
By late afternoon the light
gives out, her sight too dim
to track the seam.  Grandmammy
hauls herself to the porch swing
on swollen feet, sighing
from the strain of moving her bulk.
I snuggle beside her. We creak back
and forth watching the sun
splash tangerine across the hills
before taking the day away.
Wass iss loss, Mammy?  I fret
over her hobbled steps, the labored
rise and fall of her bosom.
Inch by inch, her thread unspools.

“Treadle” by Linda Tuthill, from What I Knew Before I Knew. Pudding House Publications, 2010. Used by permission of the author.

Linda Tuthill grew up in a Pennsylvania German farming community in close contact with the natural world. She entered the nursing field and is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She helped launch and edit the Connection, a community newspaper, and wrote feature articles for Shaker Magazine. She has contributed to a number of anthologies, most recently Learning to Heal (Reflections on Nursing School in Poetry and Prose) and has had work published in the Aurorean. For many years she has facilitated writing classes in nonfiction and poetry for the Siegal Lifelong Learning Program at Case Western Reserve University.


Write a nonet, a nine-line form, the first line having nine syllables, each following line having one less, ending with a one-syllable line, so 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 syllables per line.

N. K. Hasen
Miss Our Outings

Chelsey, my fur friend, my companion
I miss our outings together
We would brave any weather
Whether sunshine or snow
You loved to be out
Alone now me
I long for
Dog like
4/8/2019 8:35:11 PM

What would I say if I could say what
I say now that the end is near
Kept silent too long, but now
I hear myself telling
The story I need
To share with you
One last time
4/7/2019 11:23:23 PM

Penny Christian Knight
The time has come to make life simpler,
eliminate many to few.
I do not need all this "stuff,"
But there's some that I do.
Sort, sell, or donate,
Do not buy new.
Now I can
4/7/2019 7:41:23 PM

No no nonets I can't abandon
Senryu's 17 syllables
Populating just three lines
Not the same as haiku
But equally spare
Condensing space
Time movement
4/7/2019 12:52:55 PM

Elaine Schleiffer
Your voice in a dark bar and my hands
Full of nicotine and reaching
I imagine touching you
Tell me all your stories
Your smile invites me
I want stories
But also
To kiss
4/7/2019 11:31:40 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.