My mother’s poems

by | Oct 29, 2016 | Musings, Poetry, Relationships | 12 comments

mahankI was going through some papers tonight and found four poems my mother wrote when she was in high school and one from when she was in college. (Her wedding photo is to the left.)


The hour when day,
Like a butterfly,
Creeps from the cocoon
Of night.

Painting by Corot

Dreamy trees, rapt,
At their shimmering reflection
Mirrored in the river.

Riding at Night

Black pine trees in silhouette
Pierce the gleaming moon;
The night wind whistles through my hair
With a strange, exultant tune.
I love to ride at night like this
With the landscape whizzing by!
Thank you, God, for wind and trees
And moonlight sky!

The April Breeze

With the cool, sheer fluttering
As of chiffon
It whirls about


You need today
There is work to be done;
There are lessons to be learned;
There are friends to be won;
There is heaven to be earned.
Don’t wish it away—
You need today!

Mary Agnes O’Neill


kml-circa-1953My mother cut her own life short one long-ago Halloween and left three little girls behind. We know very little of her. These poems are precious to me.

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  1. Mary Ruth Gross

    Thank you for this, Laura!

    Mary Ruth

  2. Laura

    You’re welcome, sweet sister of mine! Love you, too. xoxo, Laura

  3. Jerry

    means a lot to know more about your mom. As you know my mom’s story I still would like to know even more.

  4. Vicki Batman

    Laura, these are incredibly nice. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Laura

    Thank you, Vicki, for appreciating them and letting me know. I think it’s amazing that she wrote all except for the last one when she was seventeen.

  6. Laura

    Thank you, Jerry. I wish I knew more. I think our mothers would have liked each other a lot. They both dearly loved their Catholic faith, which I think would have been a strongn bond. Plus they were both just naturally kind people.

  7. mary knight

    Each simple poem and each word are rich in essence. Did your mom ride horses, or in a car, I wondered. Reading this was a nice way to begin my day. Thank you Laura for sharing these. They are truly beautiful images, each and every one. Do you think a poet of today could produce such observations of nature? Have a good day!

  8. Laura

    Thanks for sharing your perceptions, Mary. I had similar thoughts when reading the poems. Since my mother lived her whole life in Chicago, I pictured her writing about a car ride on a warm summer’s night when the windows were down. But who knows? She could have ridden a horse at night somewhere outside of the city, or if not, she could have imagined doing so. … I like the elegance and simplcity of these poems. I wish she’d written more; I think she had a gift for poetry.

  9. Barbara Toboni

    These poems are lovely, Laura. I’m so glad you shared them. You must have been so excited to find them. I can see where you get your talent!

  10. Laura

    Thank you, Barbara. I was indeed very happy to have found them. I’d seen them many years ago and forgotten all but one of them. I didn’t even remember that they existed. Go figure. I do think it’s likely I inherited a facility for language from her.

  11. Marlena Maduro Baraf

    Laura, loved reading these! They must mean so very much to you and your sisters. I loved the April breeze that whirls about refreshingly and in Today, there is heaven to be won.

  12. Laura

    Thank you, Marlena. You’re right about those poems meaning a lot to my sisters and me. They whisper of what our mother must have been like. I think “Today” is a poem to live by, and I particularly like the first two lines of “Riding at Night.” I doubt I even knew what imagery was when I was seventeen.

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