Mary Kellogg told me about the quilt that belonged to her husband’s Grandmother. Made in about 1870, it has a Rose of Sharon design. And on the back, stamped in ink, is her name. Mary brought the quilt to the farm today to show me, but she also brought a hunk of homemade cake and a bunch of new poems and a few old poems.
Really old poems, that she just found in a box in her attic. Poems that she wrote over 70 years ago, when she was a girl. Barely legible script in pencil on manilla paper, Mary transcribed them. A couple were love poems of a lonely teenager, looking for her companion in nature. One was written in the same format she uses in many of her most recent poems. It was almost eerie.
We spent the afternoon organizing the poems and then Mary read me a few new ones. One, about an old apple tree growing in the woods, was unfinished. I watched and listened as she read through it rearranging words and sentences. Deleting whole paragraphs. Remarking, “Ah that’s a good one” when she read a line she particularly liked, as if she hadn’t written it and was reading it for the first time.
I got a feel for Mary’s new poems and the theme of her next book. Because that’s what we were really doing today, planning Mary’s third poetry book. Her latest poems fell mainly into two categories. Observations of nature and observations of life, mostly her life. And not just in the past or in the present as in her last two books, but the whole scope of a lifetime. And Mary, who is 83, has the experience, talent and introspection to convey it all in her poetry. This theme is also reflected in the recent discovery of her first poems, some which we’ll include in the new book.
So we’re excited to get working on Mary’s new book. Like the other two it will also have Jon’s photos in it. And we’re hoping to have it all done and launch it at the Bedlam Farm Open House in June 2014. Jon and I have helped Mary publish her last two books. And this time I’ll be writing about the process on my blog.
SECLUDED by Mary Kellogg
azure depth of heaven above me
I search to find the stars
knowing they are still there
holding their place
versed in path of sky
defying the globe of sun
patient till night
to come alive again.