“A Good Anger” From My ” How To Keep Your Husband” Quilt

Remember the hankie I wrote about  on my blog called “How To Keep Your Husband”…


The “How to Keep Your Husband” hankie from the 1950’s

Well, I got another one in a package from Barbara.  I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with this hankie since I got the first one, from Susan,  three or four years ago.

My Emily Dickinson, Secrets quilt was the stepping stone.

I was thinking of making another quilt using the linens I didn’t use in that quilt.  Different ideas were swimming though my mind for a while and then an image came to me.

I saw in my mind, one of the small rectangles from the hankie, lost in the grandeur of a vintage hand embroidered linen,  surrounded by words countering in the Do’s and Don’ts on the hankie.

I had to start with the one that read “Don’t ever get mad” because it was the one that got me the most angry.   And I knew the perfect words to surround it with.  They’re from Marge Piercy’s poem, A Just Anger.

So I cut out the small rectangle and sewed it to a linen table runner then stitched the words around it.

Carolyn Heilbrun wrote ” And, above all other prohibitions, what has been forbidden to women is anger…”   If we need  further proof, we can see it written in this souvenir hankie from the 1950’s.  But for me and so many women, we know this all too well from our own experience.

The last few lines in Piercy’s poem are:

“A good anger swallowed
clots the blood
to slime.”

We know this too, how suppressed anger can lead to depression.

I’ll be cutting out more of the Do’s and Don’ts from this hankie and overpowering them with quotes from other women, making them as small as they really are.   Then I’ll stitch them into a quilt.

I have a feeling “Watch your weight” will be  the next one.

A Just Anger   By Marge Piercy

Anger shines through me.
Anger shines through me.
I am a burning bush.
My rage is a cloud of flame.
My rage is a cloud of flame
in which I walk
seeking justice
like a precipice.
How the streets
of the iron city
flicker, flicker,
and the dirty air
Anger storms
between me and things,
A good anger acted upon
is beautiful as lightning
and swift with power.
A good anger swallowed,
a good anger swallowed
clots the blood
to slime.

6 thoughts on ““A Good Anger” From My ” How To Keep Your Husband” Quilt

  1. Incredibly powerful words by Marge Piercy. And how clever of you to frame that nasty yet laughable little square with her words! This reminds me of that Helen Reddy song from the 70s – I am woman, hear me roar … I am strong, I am invincible, I am a woman. As current now as it was back then. Thanks Maria, for creating this meaningful art!

  2. Good Morning Maria, You have created more than a few pieces that I have declared are my “favorite”, at least for the moment. I have a feeling this will be the new “favorite”. Looking forward to seeing the evolution of this one unfold.

  3. Here’s my favorite weight quote that undoubtedly not what the writer of those little marital inspirations had in mind.
    “You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”
    Toni Morrison
    Now that’s the kind of weight loss I can get behind

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