01 February 2008

Bloggers' (Silent) Poetry Reading

Melanie sent me a note, inviting me to participate in the Third Annual Brigid in Cyberspace Poetry Reading. It is to celebrate the feast day of Brigid, aka Groundhog Day (and, I might add the birthday of James Joyce).

I am happy to participate, but being that I have always observed the feast day on February 1st, I'm posting my poem today. This one amuses me, and as this is supposed to be a celebration, seemed more appropriate to me than something serious and filled with angst. And I decided that a poem about her was particularly appropriate for me to share.

"The Giveaway"
(from The Love Letters of Phyllis McGinley, New York, Viking Press, 1957)

Saint Bridget was
A problem child.
Although a lass
Demure and mild,
And one who strove
To please her dad,
Saint Bridget drove
The family mad.
For here's the fault in Bridget lay:
She would give everything away.

To any soul
Whose luck was out
She'd give her bowl
Of stirabout;
She'd give her shawl,
Divide her purse
With one or all.
And what was worse,
When she ran out
of things to give
She'd borrow from a relative.

Her father's gold,
Her grandsire's dinner,
She'd hand to cold and hungry sinner;
Give wine, give meat,
No matter whose;
Take from her feet
The very shoes,
And when her shoes
had gone to others,
Fetch forth her sister's and her mother's.

She could not quit.
She had to share;
Gave bit by bit
The silverware,
The barnyard geese,
The parlor rug,
Her little niece's
christening mug,
Even her bed
to those in want,
And then the mattress of her aunt.

An easy touch
For poor and lowly,
She gave so much
And grew so holy
That when she died
Of years and fame,
The countryside
Put on her name,
And still the Isles of Erin fidget
With generous girls named Bride or Bridget.

Well, one must love her.
Nonetheless,
In thinking of her
Givingness,
There's no denial
She must have been
A sort of trial
Unto her kin.
The moral, too,
seems rather quaint.
Who had the patience of a saint,
From evidence presented here?
Saint Bridget? Or her near and dear?

9 comments:

sprite said...

I like it!

mary said...

Me too!

theballadofyoko said...

It's been ages since I've read Phyllis McGinley. This poem tickles me.

The Knitting Blog by Mr Puffy the Dog said...

All good things in moderation. Great poem and aptly chosen. I was just thinking this morning that we hadn't heard from you for awhile.

teabird said...

I must read more Phillis McGinley!

My offering is up here...

Table Talk said...

Thank you, that really made me smile - out-Bellocing Belloc.

Carol said...

Thanks for the smile :) Nice pick!

Ina said...

Thanks for the hagiography! Your namesake, I guess?

Carrie K said...

That is a perfect poem! I vote her kin had their patience tested most......

And yes, named for her?