Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Ed and Rosemary Fogarty McDermott

My mother kept the Oxford Book of English Verseon her bedside table and would, at any given moment, strike a dramatic pose mid-hallway and launch into a Robert Browning poem or some funny song with a clever lyric from her childhood. My father knew Shakespeare like the back of his hand and lovingly lacquered each new volume of the John Dover Wilson and Arthur Quiller Couch set from the New Shakespeare before placing it in order on their special shelf. He would then skip down the stairs, jangling the change in his pocket, singing a George M. Cohan song on his way to spinning the latest Toscanini LP. Among the few books remaining from my childhood are A. A. Milne's When We Were Very Young, Now We Are Sixand Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses. I grew up taking for granted that meter, rhyme and melody were part of the normal fabric of day to day life.

This week, I'll write a little about a couple of my favorite poems and poets to launch an ongoing series of posts on poetry. In concentrating on painting, I've neglected this rather important part of my life and influences.

Wondering where to begin, I've decided to start with a poem my mother wrote in high school after her father died.

Missing You

I had not thought 'twould be like this —
A dull and heavy ache within my heart;
That I could live and laugh when you I miss;
Nor, oh, that it would be so hard to part!

But though my grief's by busy hours assuaged
And chatter with high laughter fills the day,
Though times much gayer are by dear friends made,
It seems I can't go on the same old way.

Yet when the silver moon hangs far above
Between the branches of the willow tree,
Or when I smell fresh scents of Spring, I love,
'Tis then that you are missed the most by me.

— Rosemary Fogarty, 1930

1 comment:

RHCarpenter said...

We never stop missing them but they are inside us every day for they have molded us, taught us, loved us for who we are. Wouldn't they be surprised to see us now?