I knew an old man who collected buttons:
puce plastic, mother-of-pearl, teal craftings.

Some were large enough to cover half your palm,
others small enough to pin on the waistcoat
of a bumblebee.

When I asked him why, he said:

“My mother was a seamstress
who was never proud of her profession.

But she mended the seams of my pants
whenever I split them in rough play.

She sewed buttons on my sister’s dresses
when we couldn’t afford better fabric
and still she sparkled –

a mosaic of stars.”


Author: redgladiola

Creative writer happily predisposed to flights of fancy. You can find my poetry and short prose at https://redgladiola.wordpress.com

32 thoughts on “Buttons”

  1. Oh – loved this – I have two mason jars from my grandmother filled with buttons – she was a seamstress too – tho proud of her craft – such beauty created from loving hands, needle and thread – thanks for reminding me- smiles – K

  2. Love how you translated buttons on the dress to a ‘mosaic of stars at the end’, shows the reverence the old man has always had for his mother. ❤

  3. Simply delightful! This takes me back to a time when as a little girl, I would take my mother’s sewing ‘can’ filled with buttons, and just run my fingers through the multitude of them. I loved to hear the clicking noise of the buttons as I picked up handfuls and let them cascade from my hand back into the ‘sewing’ can. Thanks for this piece of nostalgia! 🙂

  4. When I read this first I read it as a poem and couldn’t get the flow at all. Yes memories of my Mum and Grandma, sewing for the family and as a business with the button box for us to play with, each button a story so that was good. I still couldn’t get the flow. Read it again today as more prose and out loud, and it just worked! What a difference a day makes! Thank you.

    1. Hi! Thanks for taking the time to re-read this poem. I think you might have been right in that I should have left it as straight prose. I was struggling with breaking it up to make it more readable and that affected the flow. Sometimes writing can be successful and sometimes less so. Thanks. =)

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