She’s on the road by dawn,
walking the woollen paths,
stooping and stretching
through the miles of day
picking wool from blackthorn,
white against dark spikes;
fragments of fleece from banks,
scraps of spindrift in the grass.
Fallen animals offer rich harvest,
she pulls wool off many dead backs.
While women walk the drovers’ roads
working all day to fill their sacks,
heaving home their haul
they talk of family, children,
the farm, old friends, the past.
Gathering stories as they pick their wool.
She spins her yarns
while women tell their tales,
sitting around the winter table,
weaving stories, pulling together –
the wool gatherers, gwlana.
(*Gwlana - Welsh for 'wool gathering)
This poem was written during a visit to the Welsh Wool Museum,
It was recently published in Roundyhouse Magazine.