From Rope: A Tale Told in Prose and Verse, published by Broken Rules Press in 2011.
I go to the withy beds by the lake and cut fresh willow: yellow, black, white, and red. I peel off the bark. Sometimes its colour bleeds into the wood. Some willow is good for furniture, some for baskets. I use them all for my rope.
If they’re thick, the withies have to be pounded and split. They have to be pounded anyway to break the fibres a bit. Soaking in water softens them more, then drying shrinks and tightens.
I make a thick and a thin rope, depending. The thin rope is more trouble, requires more delicate splitting of the widdies and tighter braiding. It’s a pretty thing my thin rope when it’s finished. I use it on women.
I use the thicker rope for hanging men. I don’t like to use the same piece twice. A fresh length each time and left on, disposed of` with the body.
This is clean rope. Not jute picked by the dirty fingers of scummy-eyed children and their unkempt mothers under the eye of the oakum master. You might as well try to weave a rope out of` sand as out of` that stuff.
People pay me for my rope with coin or food and use it as halters for animals, fastenings for doors and windows, and for fences, or to tie bundles. It is strong rope and lasts a few years.