My grandmother, Mary Clare Judge, wore many hats during her lifetime: School Teacher; Interior Designer; Antique Collector; Wife; Mom; Grandmother. One particular title she held throughout her years in these various other roles was that of a Poetess. It wasn’t until recently when I was writing my novel, Naming The Bits Between, that I reminisced about what my grandmother cherished in her life – her poetry. It was the perfect time to reread her collection.
These poems, the ones that I was not able to fully appreciate as a child, teenager and even a young adult, revealed the heart of who she really was – a proud woman deeply affected by her Irish heritage, her beloved home in the Berkshires and her deep rooted Catholic faith. Unfortunately, now that I am ready to fully grasp her thoughts and feelings, she is no longer here to discuss them. But, as all of us who write know, we cannot (for the most part) tell readers the thoughts behind our words, and surely our words will exist when we are no longer here to explain ourselves. I think we all write with the understanding that readers will take what they will, and rightfully so, interpret our words for themselves. This is a fact, I’m sure she too, would fully understand and expect.
What prompted me to write this post was the reality of the age we live in and the enormous opportunity that is the Internet and our access to the world through it. Now, anyone and everyone has a platform to publish their innermost feelings. It’s as easy as the push of a button. Sometimes, it seems to be a little too easy based on the vast amount of “stuff” you can find in cyberspace. Quality over quantity is a VERY powerful statement!
This unlimited access to readers made me think about my grandmother and the binders of unpublished poems that she left behind. Each binder contains her most prized works – typed on white paper, three hole-punched and categorized by a table of contents referencing each title and page number. Seeing this compilation reminded me of all the stories I had heard over the years about her desire to be published; a desire she never saw fulfilled.
When I re-read my grandmother’s work, I thought there may be something I could do about her aspiration to have her poems seen. And then I remembered, it’s as easy as the push of a button!
AT THE SHORE – by Mary Clare Judge
The wild waves
And boisterous winds
Tell tales of things
That might have been
As tides roll in
The muttering noise
Becomes the voices
Of garrulous men
With their oft-repeated,
“Remember when.” —
Unceasingly they recall:
“Do you remember the ships so tall
With billowing sails?”
“How often between us we made them fall.”
Now comes a wail and another repeat —
Talk of planes falling out of the sky
With their struggling wings like butterflies.
“We conquered them all.”
Their hoarseness increases
As if weary with weeping
For man’s useless struggle
Always losing the fight
Against their might.
Yet I know on another day
Their voices will hush as the
While tales are whispered of much
I hope you enjoyed reading one of her poems. I know without a doubt, she would be tickled pink to know it is now out in the world for so many eyes to see!