Jean’s Poem “About Time” 5-26-2012

My mother, Jean McGready,  is in her 80’s now, has a few medical problems, but still has an active mind.  She lives in Texas now, but is still quite English.  Yes, she is old, but has not always been so.  She was still in her teens when World War II came to England.  The war brought bombs and death to many in that small country, brought rationing, many other forms of turmoil, turned their society upside down.  It also brought Yanks, in their hundreds of thousands, and one of them caught her eye – he came to be my father.

She and I have, within the last few years, resumed our closer contact, and she writes or calls from time to time.  Sometimes her letters are short updates on her life with Tom, her second husband, and their little adventures.  Sadly, the little tales these days relate his struggles with dementia and her struggles to keep him on track.

Occasionally she sends along a poem or story she has put down on paper.  She sends the originals and keeps no copies;  for me it’s it’s rather like receiving a message in a bottle. I particularly liked this one and decided to share it with my small readership.

About Time by Jean McGready

The old one sits alongside the gate

he knows I have been dancing.

And what of that? I want to cry

Is it a sin to go romancing?

“Do you hear, old man,

When the fiddlers play, do you hum

the songs that I have sung?

Time was you’d have danced the night away

When your world was green and young.”

I pass him slow, with a swish of my skirt

and a flip of my head, for measure.

But he does not heed, nor bid me stay

For him life holds no pleasure.

Ah! No such thing is in his keeping,

though Summer hours are sweeting.

Rust tints the hinge at the cedared gate,

Rust that had no place before.

Heather shrouds the trackless moor,

Blazing gorse affronts my gaze.

So why should I be weeping?

Let me tell you in another way,

I shall not measure time today,

Time has me in its keeping.

3 responses to “Jean’s Poem “About Time” 5-26-2012

  1. That’s lovely, Jim. Sad, but lovely. I know what you mean about the mailed poems being like messages in a bottle. When my husband was an Airman in Biloxi, my mom and I would send letters back and forth, back before email and text messages and cell phones, when there was such a thing as “long distance phone bills.” 🙂 Thanks for sharing your mom’s poem.

  2. Jim, I can’t thank you enough for sharing this deeply beautiful poem. I have shared it with my family and friends and it has moved them, as well. I love your introduction about your mom and dad and the photos you have included. It has given the poem another layer of meaning.
    Thank you, Dina

  3. I hope you’ll share more of your mother’s beautiful poetry. She has a real gift.

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