Friday, October 15, 2010

Theme Thursday - Knots

I am a day late, but found both the concept and the photograph so beautiful, I wanted to participate anyway.

When I was eleven years old, I lived on the island of Malta for several months when my father was the architect for a new hotel. I became fascinated by the sight of fishermen mending their nets and would spend hours sitting by the sea watching them. The fishermen's work is primary and ancient. They inherit the skills of ancestors. I envy the primeval integrity and beauty of their labour. So many precise knots to be secured if the catch is not to be lost through a hole in the net.

The need to tie things together, to join, to hook, to loop, to weave must be instinctive. I wonder if the first net for catching food was learned from the spider in its web? Fishermen continue the ingenuity of the spider, whose intricate geometry secures dinner.

When fishing nets are hung up in the sun there is a translucent loveliness. I feel a mingling of emotions which must reach back into a common, archetypal memory. I dimly sense that all of life is one vast web of woven singularity.

There is a time to be tying knots and a time to be untying knots. The whole cosmic and social mystery is a continuous tightening and loosening of myriad knots. To be caught in life’s binding and loosening is both terrible and beautiful. We spend much of our lives trying to discern where we should tighten knots and where we should loosen knots of complicity or belonging. Just like the fishermen, a careless or unskilled knot can lose for us what we would keep.

I end with a poem written several years ago by my dear friend, Patrick, who was just twenty-one at the time.


Things grow more tangled
the more that I watch.

I have no patience with knots.
I have no patience with nots.

I have

I resist the urge
To Simplify

with knives,

Their Cleanness


Instead I begin
To unravel.

(Theme Thursday - Knots)


  1. I agree with your comments and love your ideas on simplicity, I found the same thing when I lived in Crete for 3 years in the early 80's. My "knot" yesterday takes place on Crete 1985 I was a little older than 11 though :-)! THanks for sharing

  2. So true, what you say - I enjoyed very much reading your exploration of knots, binding and loosening and knowing when to do what.

  3. When I first read "knot" on theme thursday, my immediate thought was sailing knots. Your use of fishing nets is even more powerful.

    Nicely done!

  4. Your friend Patrick's poem is very powerful! I especially like the nots/knots pun.

  5. Great take on the theme! You're right that the trick with knots is knowing when to tie them... and when not to.

  6. What a fascinating Theme Thursday. Loved your writing and the beautiful poem.