Perfecting the drape

“Portrait of Mary Alice Eckbo” painted in 1914: artist Thorvald Hellesen (1888 – 1937)

Nimble fingers I watched with awe
pleating the saree expertly
with incredulity I saw
six yards draped so elegantly.

Mostly busy, never frazzled
nimble fingers I watched with awe
moving quickly they did dazzle
your draping always without flaw.

Trying to pleat, a blank I draw
was frustrated, then I recalled
how nimble fingers had me in awe
the movement that had me in thrall

I had practiced without a pause
now am at ease, no longer raw
saree is my first choice because
nimble fingers I’d watched with awe.

Written for dVerse poetics and poetry form. On Tuesday for poetics, Lillian our host had asked us to create a poem motivated by one of the five portraits she shared by artist Hellesen.

Today our host, Grace, is encouraging us to try the form quatern! I have combined both the prompts. If you look at the picture below, you would know why the painting above inspired me to write about pleating the saree. 🙂


44 thoughts on “Perfecting the drape

  1. A great combination of Poetics and Form for All, Punam, and that you chose the ‘nimble fingers I used to watch with awe’ as the refrain – they do stand out, don’t they. And what beautiful memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t write to the prompt with these images, but this is the one I would have chosen, and you wrote a perfect poem for it. I love your repeated refrain, and I can imagine someone watching an older female relative. A lovely memory. 💙

    Liked by 2 people

  3. And that is a skill to learn and master. I am always in awe with that drapery of the sari. Beautiful memories to carry over and share with our children and grandchildren.

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  4. Beautiful quatern, Punam, and I love how you interpreted the image ❤ I must say, the few times I ever wore a sari, I was never able to master the art of the folds! I always had to ask someone to do it for me 🙂

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  5. great use of the prompts, I must have nimble fingers … I loved to wear saris! Not considered politically correct now so I passed them onto my friends 4 daughters 🙂

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  6. I am all smiles as I read this poem through. It felt like draping saree, round and round with that refrain.

    P. S. I just learned how to put on a saree! It’s an art, and yes, will leave one in awe!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I love this quatern!!! I watched in awe as my Mother created my dresses when I was a child, my formal gowns (tons of pleating) when I was a young woman. I have never worn a sari, would enjoy wearing one I think. Must find a suitable fabric soon.

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    1. It is awesome to watch mothers do things which seem so difficult. I think you would look lovely in a sari. Try to get a fabric that is flowy and has a good fall.
      Thanks a lot, Helen.


  8. I was too late for the painting prompt but you how to combine the prompts in an ingenious way… Folding a Sari is indeed awe-inspiring…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I learned to drape a saree a very long time ago. I still remember how, though i have not worn one in ages.

    Enjoyed your quatern Punam.


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