To-day my hands have been flattered
With the cool-finger touch of thin linen,
And I have unwound
Yards of soft, folded nainsook
From a stiff bolt.
Also I have held a piece of lawn
While it marbled with light
In a sudden quiver of sun.
So to-night I know of this delicate pleasure
Of white-handed women
Who like to touch smooth linen handkerchiefs,
And of the baby’s tactual surprise
In closing its fist
Over a handful of nainsook,
And even something of the secret pride of the girl
As the folds of her fine lawn nightgown
Breathe against her body.
Nainsook is a soft, fine, lightweight form of muslin.
The word nainsook is first documented in 1790, and derives
from the Hindi and Urdu "nainsukh", which literally means "eye's delight".