Poems from the Pages · The Magazine Rack

Tatting Poem: A Summer Idyl

Vintage illustration of an outdoor window with a large pot of clover on the sill. Four swallows circle around the side of the window and swoop below on the right side. Scrollwork and blue flowers frame the left side of the window.
Flowers blooming, birds singing – a sure sign of summer.

Not many poems exist that extol the glories of tatted lace. Well, actually, there might be more than you think. This tatting poem, A Summer Idyl, is one of… well… a few.

Usually I open these poetry selections with an outline of the author’s life and a link to other works if I can find them. This time, though, a lengthy search turned up nothing on the poet who wrote this tatting poem, A Summer Idyl. His name was Allan C. Stewart. And while his name may be lost to time, this poem can live on.

This is a nice poem to enjoy with your own shuttle, or crochet hook, or knitting needles in your lap. Or fix yourself a nice cool beverage, sit outdoors, and enjoy.

A Summer Idyl
by Allan C. Stewart

Swinging in a shaded hammock,
   Watching Phyllis at her lace,
Life seems dowered with richest promise,
   Filled with tenderness and grace.
Flowers are blooming, birds are singing,
   Bowered in leafy tents of green,
I have eyes for naught but Phyllis,
   Busy little household queen.

In and out her shuttle flashes,
   While the dainty fabric grows
Like a dream of fairy weaving,
   Smooth and lustrous, row on rows.
Chains and picots, rings and roses
   One by one I see arrayed,
Fashioned by the slender fingers
   Of this winsome, 'witching maid.

All intent upon her tatting, 
   Still she sits, demure and cool,
Never once her eyes are lifted––
   Deep-fringed, like a woodland pool,
How I wish I knew her fancies...
   Phyllis tilts her saucy face,
Saying sweetly, "I was thinking
   My new thread makes lovely lace!"

As you can see, there’s a bit more going on here than a young lady at her tatting shuttle. We have to wonder if Phyllis is as enamored with her companion as her companion is with her? Don’t you wish you could continue to chapter two, and find out what happens when the autumn leaves fall?

I think many of us have been like Phyllis at one time or another, so wrapped in our current task that we focus on nothing else. I know I have! In fact, tatting thread in a new color takes me there almost every time.

If you enjoyed this poem, you may also like A Song of June. Do you know of any poems from the Teens through the Twenties that you’d like me to share? Drop me a comment and let me know.