Saying Good Bye To Mary

Right next to the casket, under a picture of Mary was her straw gardening hat and gardening tools. While the minister told bible stores, I pulled a pen from Jon’s bag and the small scrap of paper that I used as a bookmark for the poems I read from Mary’s book and did a drawing of them.

Jon and I went to the funeral service for Mary Kellogg today.  Jon gave a talk about Mary and I read two of her poems.

The first poem was Song At Milking.  I chose it because it showed the loving relationship between Mary and her father, who she loved dearly.  And also because it shows Mary’s spirit even at a young age.

Song At Milking   By Mary Kellogg

Dad was a quiet man
especially around the cows

evening chores begin
he pats first cow gently
and settles on the three legged stool
resting his soft farmers hat against her thigh
begins to pull the milk down
silver milk bucket resonates zing zing on metal

I am watching from the doorstep, feet flat on cement
warm moist scent of hay and cows wrap around me
cows wait stoically
grinding hay and grain in sliding  motion

I like it here   I start to whistle

Dad says Whistling women and crowing hen
are no good for mice and men

smiling he says, My mother used to sing.
   She had a beautiful voice
The neighbors loved to hear her singing in the garden

Did you ever sing? I ask

Used to, sometimes. 

Will you sing a song for me?

He begins, Yankee Doodle went to town riding on a pony
put a feather in his cap and called it macaroni
Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee Doodle dandy
mind the music and the dance and with the girls be handy

in bubble of mirth I whistle Dad’s tune up the step
and out the door


The second poem of Mary’s that I read shows that same self-determination only seventy years later.

Octogenarian    By Mary Kellogg

I am mighty close to this age
Never thought I’d reach such a milestone

Now what?
I can be like a frog
sit on a bog and wait
to be gobbled up 


I can jump, make a ripple
affect change 
in little ways

I can sit motionless 
as one I knew did
and say, “oh dear, oh dear.”

I prefer to make a ripple
to sweep another shore
touch another life
within another day


4 thoughts on “Saying Good Bye To Mary

  1. got her book This Time of Life today and I read some poems as a way of being with her before her spirit says all her goodbyes.

  2. Ah, to have known her must have been such a blessing. Thank God she had friends like you and John to release her wisdom and creativity to the world in her later years to bless those of who didn’t.

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