What Price a Diamond

Five steel needles clack
in your lap, like the chatter of teeth
or the playing of bones.

By the squint of a rush lamp
more by feel than eye
you knit the blue gansey

each ladder, cable, herringbone
slip-stitched tight, seamless
to baffle wind, turn water.

You pick up at the row’s end
work your wrist, the pins,
and fashion a diamond

your mind on the herring fleet
the suddenness of storms
that can take a man down

no matter his prayers,
tangled with baited line,
frozen in blue.

You purl up a jewel close
to his heart, so if ever he rolls in
limp, with the night-wrack,

watchers will bring him home
your wet wool glistening,
straight to your door

on a cart that clacks
like five steel needles,
like the playing of bones.

Suzy Miles