Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Remembering Helen Talmadge

This is a picture of my Aunt Helen mentioned in my post on Sunday, who died 28 July. I am pretty sure this was taken when she graduated from high school and was validictorian.

As I told you before, she was an excellent poet and one thing I would have been most pleased with would have been able to have the opportunity to have become acquainted with her poetry in my early youth -- it was already in the early afternoon for me before I came to know and appreciate it. On the other hand, perhaps I shoudl be grateful that she could be a mother to me for about a year before my father remarried.

He work is generally of a subtle and well-crafted elegance which is easy to miss on the first reading - for example: Thrush and Meadow Lark

The thrush sings in the hawthorn tree,
proud of his nest and family.
"For us, our way is right;" says he,
"its's always right, it's right for me!"

Meadow larks nest upon the ground,
with weeds and grass growing all around.
"If hunters come, I'll pretend I'm doomed.
My nest will not, will not be found!"

But trees are felled by the woodsman's axe,
and hay is cut to pay the tax!
It's cut and piled in golden stacks
while mower grinds and binder clacks...

Now, for their nests, from dawn to dark,
grieve both the thrush and meadow lark.

With a drawing, it could fit in Blake's "Songs of Innocence and Experience".

My favorite is one that could measure with Emily Dickinson: Summer and Sunlight

I want a boat while there's
still summer and sunlight --
it's bright sails all afloat
in the soft summer breeze.

The boat must be little
for our lake is little --
it's shadowed and shaded
and it's sheltered by trees.

If I can't have a boat
that someone can ride in,
then I'll whittle one
from the dry bark of a tree.

To its mast I'll fasten
a bit of white paper
and I'll sit on the bank
while the wind blows it from me.

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