Mattie Hammond was my maternal Great Grandmother, she called me Burtie. In the 1930’s Mattie’s home burned everyone escaped, including my 7 year old mother Janice. You can read one of Mattie’s poems in my book on page 302. Professor Nancy Funk from Penn State University and the National Fire Academy wrote the forward to the collection of poems by M. E. Hammond titled A Feather, I will publish it in 2019. MEH cover draft
FOREWORD A Feather, Poetry by M.E Hammond
Some write poetry from the heart full of passion; others script from reality those day-to-day drudgeries that enter to make life a challenge. Mrs. Mattie E. Hammond, physically attentive to nature and needing a creative outlet, reminiscences about the expiring days and what tomorrow might bring before her death at 90.
Mrs. Hammond notices the common, yet continuing elements of life such as the environment, holidays, and particularly her family. She wistfully remembers summers near the Jersey shore and how the school holidays brought happiness to her children and others. Blue jays, robins, squirrels, a turtle, and even a mouse fill her with awe and curiosity as to how they enjoy life with unquestionable reserve and joyfulness a human would not bother to note. A tree’s bark is brought to life as it quarrels with its leaves and reminds the reader that its unflinching devotion is more precious than a transitory relationship. Summer is most appreciated than cold, snowy winter. However, Christmas and the New Year are enjoyable aspects brought to the forefront before she looks forward to the sounds and fragrances of spring.
Such enrapture with what could be labeled as “common” has been credited to Emily Dickinson and other poets. However, Mattie E. Hammond recognizes not only God in referring to Noah’s endurance with the Flood, but relates subtly His Hand on all aspects of “our precious land,” down to the mischievous donkey and a “baby” fish caught and returned to its “safe” place before the treacherous sea.
Appreciation for her five children and their twenty plus offspring, she categorizes in “The Sunday Dinner at Ethel and Burt’s” the sumptuous offering each brings and advised Burt and Ethel to judiciously enjoy the coming time of retirement. Who else in her reclining days would rock in solitude and contemplation the timelessness of friends?
The reader concludes these 56 poems with a renewed outlook on several aspects of life never before considered. This woman’s emotional pleasures and observations of what she loved will reverberate off the printed pages and into one’s memories. Just as Grandma Moses painted people and scenes she knew best, so this great-grandmother poeticized the days she experienced. Who cannot judge as artistic the undisguised emotion of decades ago?
With forced rhyme, inconsistent and disputed rhythm, and devoid of punctuation could MEH’s work have been foreshadowing the poetry of the 21st-Century a century before?
Nancy Funk, Professor
Penn State University