Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WHAT IS THE GREATEST GIFT?

So this quilt is the gift the enrichment students of Homewood Middle School presented to me. It's not any ordinary quilt: this one contains special pieces of fabric from each child -- sports team t-shirts, dance costumes, favorite robes, snippets of blankets, even the ear from a well-loved teddy bear.

And to make it even more precious, the students put the stories of their quilt pieces into a book for me called "The Story of Our Quilt." The book contains a swatch of each fabric, and each child's story is stitched into the pages.

I was so touched by the way these kids took this project to heart. They seemed to put such thought into the pieces they chose. Some even admitted in their writing how it was hard to give up a piece of that treasure, but how they knew I would love and care for their stories.

What a gift. From the teachers who hatched the plan and the parents who helped and the whole group that orchestrated such a special project. I am in awe, and I'm honored, and this quilt will join my Ludelphia doll on all my LEAVING GEE'S BEND adventures.

And made me remember this Mary Oliver poem. Mary Oliver is on my mind because I get to meet her on Sunday in Atlanta!! So for Poetry Friday, I offer it to you. Roundup is with the lovely Elaine at Wild Rose Reader.


What is the greatest gift?
by Mary Oliver

What is the greatest gift?
Could it be the world itself — the oceans, the meadowlark,
the patience of the trees in the wind?
Could it be love, with its sweet clamor of passion?

Something else — something else entirely
holds me in thrall.
That you have a life that I wonder about
more than I wonder about my own.
That you have a life — courteous, intelligent —
that I wonder about more than I wonder about my own.
That you have a soul — your own, no one else's —
that I wonder about more than I wonder about my own.
So that I find my soul clapping its hands for yours
more than my own.

12 comments:

  1. Just beautiful, Irene. What an amazing gift. I know you will treasure it. Mary Oliver's poem is the perfect accompaniment. Thank you for the lovely Poetry Friday gift.

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  2. What an amazing amount of work and love went into this! I'm touched on your behalf.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this amazing quilt and the heartwarming story behind it! Hadn't seen that Mary Oliver poem before -- love it, thank you!

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  4. Irene, I love the Mary Oliver poem. Even more, I love your photo that shows some quilt pieces and the stories behind them. That bathrobe sash! What a wonderful gift you were given, and I've put Leaving Gee's Bend on my list to read soon.

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  5. Wow! What a beautiful gift and that's the perfect poem to go with it.

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  6. My soul is clapping at the tought of the gift and all it took to compose it for you. How very special!

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  7. What an amazing gift -- not just the quilt, but those students' souls clapping their hands for yours more than for their own! Wow.

    My soul is just a little jealous that yours gets to meet Mary Oliver!!

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  8. I'm so happy for you, both on account of the beautiful and spirited quilt and because tomorrow you receive the rare, exquisite privilege of meeting Mary Oliver.
    I think your muses are working overtime! (And long may they do so!)
    Laurie@whatsheread.blogspot.com

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  9. the best quilts come from small pieces of other people lifes... what a wonderful gift

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  10. What an incredibly thoughtful gift. How wonderful to have a tangible reminder of the effect your book had on children!

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  11. That is amazingly sweet of them! It's a beautiful quilt and I love that they included their own stories.

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