For Marion Higley
Light-filled woman, she,
College-taught and Bishop’s wife,
Baptized on a worn, porcelain-metal table
In a plank house on the edge of pine woods.
Woman of tenderness, she,
Washing sand from the sun-warmed limbs of
Three fair daughters and a wheaten-haired baby son,
With hand-pumped well-water in a porcelain sink-basin,
While scented sun motes danced around their heads,
And laughter floated out across the rippling lake.
Woman of faith, she,
Doting on a husband, briefly freed from his clerical collar’s weight,
Dozing in flannel, in a worn Adirondack chair, rocking peacefully,
Upon the beloved timbered porch.
Woman of diligence, she,
Wringing hand-washed clothes to hang with wooden clothespins,
On twisted rope lines, from tree to tree,
And ringing the dinner bell at dusk, to gather her chicks together.
Woman of words, she,
Stealing quiet minutes to write in her journals,
With illuminating lines filled with the poetry of nature and grace,
The chronicle of a life lived well,
And guiding it, an abiding love of God, transcending all.
Author’s note: This poem is dedicated to my mother-in-law. My father-in-law , Walter Higley, was the Episcopal Bishop of Central New York, and Marion was his strength. They originally purchased the Higley family Camp at Limekiln Lake, Inlet in the ’50s, and it remains the entire family’s beloved “heart-home.”