#54 Colcha Treasure by H. Marie Aragón

Where did it come from?
I’m not sure.
Carefully wrapped
in mother’s archival chest of scented cedar –
an embroidery-stitched colcha shawl

Push Pull Loop Anchor

Made of long, wool strands from churro sheep
herded from New Spain to New Mexico
Natural, indigenous dyes –
Charma bush, Brazilian wood chips
and traded indigo,
Touched by earth and sky

Pull Loop Anchor Push

Smoky-blue sabanilla cloth
Rough, textured tapestry –
Motifs of flora and fauna,
Long tassels sway in the
high-desert breeze –
A simple grace

Loop Anchor Push Pull

My bones inform me that –
traveling from San Geronimo to Torres
over the Sangre De Cristo Mountains
along the Purgatoire River
Mi Abuela, Apollonia Benavidez
packed her dishes, a silver cross
and the colcha shawl in a chest of scented cedar

Pull Push Loop Anchor

Wrapped in familial history
One ancestral strand
connects my body and spirit
in my broken moments –
A tender embrace

Anchor Push Pull Loop

 

*Colcha Treasure   Translations: Colcha is a traditional mending approach used by the Spanish pioneer women to strengthened cloth that had holes.  Later it became an art form for making coverings for beds, furniture or simply a shawl.

Dedicated to my maternal (Mi abuela) grandmother, Apollonia Benavidez

Published 2011 Santa Fe Literary Review.

H. Marie Aragón, a member of High Desert Poets lives and writes in Santa Fe.   Her work is often grounded in her ancestral history in New Mexico and Colorado.  Marie’s work is published in various literary magazines.


4 thoughts on “#54 Colcha Treasure by H. Marie Aragón

  1. I heard Marie Aragon read this poem aloud once while wearing a colcha shawl. The poem and the shawl are absoulutely beautiful.

  2. Love the rhythmical weaving responsories which punctuate the poem. You really incorporate the reader into the fabric of what you have woven here, as if we ourselves were threads on the loom, drawn into the history and meaning of the shawl.

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