Thursday, 13 November 2008

The colour of lead

When this yarn arrived, an installment of the Petals Collection sock club, I read the colour written on the label as ‘Leaden Rose.’

The lenten roses I know are eerie shades of pale green and puce, and for some reason, although I know that lead is in fact grey-white, darkening to a deep grey-brown if anything, I’ve always thought of it as purple-grey. I think it’s because when I was quite little and living in London, my dad told me about the Victorian lead water-pipes running beneath the city, and explained that the word 'plumber' derived from the Latin for lead, ‘plumbum’. I couldn’t read ’til I was seven, or spell until long after that, so in my imagination lead was a deep dark purple, and you could search the depths of something with a little plum tied to a string.

I’ve been planning this scarf for a while. As soon as I saw the Lace Ribbon Scarf on Knitty I knew it was the pattern for this yarn, and slowly in my mind, between beginning it early in the summer, pushing it unravelled back into the workbasket, and taking it up again on Saturday night, the ‘Leaden Roses scarf’ has become the ‘Lead and Roses scarf’.

There's something about the juxtaposition I find inexplicably pleasing - maybe because it reminds me of ‘Bread and Roses’.

As we come marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill-lofts gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing, "Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses."

As we come marching, marching, we battle, too, for men --
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes --
Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses.

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient song of Bread;
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew --
Yes, it is bread we fight for -- but we fight for Roses, too.

As we come marching, marching, we bring the Greater Days --
The rising of the women means the rising of the race --
No more the drudge and idler -- ten that toil where one reposes --
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses.

James Oppenheim, Bread and Roses


Anonymous said...

What a coincidence, I've just cast on for a grey lace ribbon scarf as well. It must be the weather for new scarves! The Sundara looks beautiful and it looks like you've made rather more progress than I have too! xx
P.S. I love the idea of men with little plums on strings fixing our pipes for us :)

Mia said...

hehe, just reading your blog today and so suprised to see "Bread and Roses." I work in Lawrence, MA, the site of the Bread and Roses strike. Funny small world, eh?