Of all my mother in-law’s many accomplishments, including the birth and rearing of nine ridiculously accomplished and consistently kind offspring, one of the greatest remains the book she talked her friend Clarence into publishing earlier this year.
Poems of Love and Life, published in August of 2014, celebrates an enduring, love-at-first-sight story and the sweet memories it inspires.
Clarence wrote with both a twinkle in his pen and a refreshing passion in his soul. His effusive references to Irene, the wife he adored for more than 68-years, created lasting images of an enviable love.
In “The Scent of Your Hair” Clarence painted an achingly beautiful scene in which he allowed his senses to transport him to his honeymoon and back. It is a tribute to both the author and the man, that he seemed equally besotted with his young bride and his aging wife, both, of course, the beautiful Irene.
She remained a central figure in almost every poem, many of which marked anniversaries and the self-deprecating charm of their author, “What Did You See In Me?”
“Day Wish” dug a little deeper than most, and it’s my favorite.
Especially today I will give to you
A loving heart that is true.
And a wish that your world will
Always be like a lush hill
Overlooking a white wood fence
Surrounding a beautiful garden
Full of lovely flowers and shade trees
With birds, butterflies and bees.
There will always be a two-seated swing
On which we can sit and sing
Until it come time
When evening meets nighttime.
These poems, “Your Hand in Mine,” “First Date,” “To My Darling Wife, “Anniversary 53” and many others existed on scattered paper, both loose leaf and scrap.
My mother in-law, a fellow writer, recognized their value and encouraged her friend to publish them in a book.
Thankfully, he did and the 92-year old rookie author spent a couple of celebrated weeks signing books and reading poems.
Sadly, Clarence died last week, on Dec. 1, just six months after his beloved Irene. Evening met nighttime and we’re left with Clarence’s comforting vision of the two of them on a porch swing surrounded by a beautiful garden.
Thanks to his friend Mary Jane, though, the poetic legacy of Clarence and Irene’s love lives on.