‘Habit’ a poem by Hazel Hall

When we talk about work today, we frequently blame technology for upsetting the balance between work and life. But if we look back to the previous century, we find work and life have always been a bit uneven.

The Friday Poem this week is ‘Habit’ by Hazel Hall.

Confined to a wheelchair after complications from scarlet fever, she worked as a seamstress “and gainfully occupied herself embroidering the sumptuous fabrics of bridal gowns, baby dresses, altar cloths, lingerie, and Bishop’s cuffs that figure so lushly in her poems. But early in her twenties, taxed by the strain of needlework, her eyesight began to fail, and she turned to writing poems.”

Hall’s writings—her mirror trained on the world—convey the dark undertones of the lives of working women in the early twentieth century, while bringing into focus her own private, reclusive life—her limited mobility, her isolation and loneliness, her gifts with needlework and words, and her exquisite grief.”


Last night when my work was done,
And my estranged hands
Were becoming mutually interested
In such forgotten things as pulses,
I looked out of a window
Into a glittering night sky.

And instantly
I began to feather-stitch a ring around the moon.

Hazel Hall

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