Rose Cook – String


I want to talk to you about string.
How it is strangely reassuring.
String doesn’t ask for much.
String doesn’t ask for more.

If you hold a piece of string up to the light
and gently twiddle it,
it has little hairs on it,
giving an appearance of life.

You can use wool or twine,
both of which are very hairy.
For very little outlay you can buy some string
to take home with you.

It’s nice to hold it with other people sometimes.
They may get embarrassed,
so you have to think of ways around that,
like pretending to wrap a parcel
and asking them to put their finger on the knot
while you tie the bow,
or play cat’s cradle
or throw it between you like a ball.

You can’t be depressed when there’s string around.
My friend and I have started
The String Society for Support and Sadness Stopping.
We don’t have a badge, but we encourage
people to carry string at all times,
even trail a piece of it out of the top of their pocket…

String gives people hope.
Something to hold on to.

Ivor Cutler once said you could go a long way
before you see an old woman eating an egg
by drawing a piece of wool through it.

The artist Miro liked string ~ he painted wistful lines
like black string, which can be
a lonely song in the night
or someone running for joy.
Picasso too, like a blind watchman,
sat licking a certain mystery from string.

My Mum liked string.
She was an acrobat and used to say
Balance is everything.
Actually she wasn’t an acrobat,
but she did say ‘Balance is everything’.

She liked string because of the war.
We had a little wooden house
to keep short pieces of string in.
The end of the string came out
of the chimney, like hairy smoke.

As I said, strangely reassuring.

Rose Cook is an Apples & Snakes poet and has appeared at many events with them.  Rose co-founded the popular Devon poetry and performance forum One Night Stanza, as well as poetry performance group Dangerous Cardigans. 
Her latest book Notes From a Bright Field was published by Cultured Llama (2013). Previous poetry books are everyday festival published by HappenStance Press (2009) and Taking Flight published by Oversteps Books (2009).