Captured by Long, Icy Winter: Poems from Gloucester, Mass

Captured by Long, Icy Winter: Poems from Gloucester, Mass

by Margery McManus Leach


Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Friday, May 14


The Cardinal Sings
I tread the ivy path into the wood to find my sometime brook.
Now just a trickle amongst dead leaves.
the big gnarled oak still stands,
and the red bird sings on.

In her first collection of poetry, Margery McManus Leach reflects on her new life in Gloucester, Massachusetts, enduring an exceptionally harsh winter and capturing the delightful surprises of nature's bleakest season.

After being injured from a fall in 2006 while on a mission to strife-torn Chiapas, Mexico, Leach left the Southwest for permanent residence in Gloucester and, in the process, found an unforeseen new passion-writing poetry. While her lyrical expressions awaken those with declining physical prowess to a new appreciation for their immediate surroundings, Leach's spiritual and humorous influences illuminate the beauty of God's creation and enduring love in human relationships. As she traces a path through a long icy winter, the garden of her life, and the silver linings she finds therein, Leach brings hopefulness to all aspects of life.

Leach's poetry integrates physical, emotional, and divine beauty while providing comfort to the bereaved; offering tribute to the departed, and giving courage to those facing life-changing decisions in a challenging world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426937620
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Publication date: 07/27/2010
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.37(d)

About the Author

Margery McManus Leach is a retired librarian turned peace activist and author of three books: Unexpected Harvest-A Faith Journey in Four Seasons, On Being Born Again and Again-A Widow's Mite Striving for Justice in the World, and Sanctuary in Phoenix! She currently resides near her family in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt



By Margery McManus Leach

Trafford Publishing

Copyright © 2010 Margery McManus Leach
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4269-3762-0



Long. Icy Winter


As I prepare this Easter greeting,
slices of my life while still alive,
I wonder, will they be buried
as mementos of grandmother
who lived so long ago
then resurrected when
you are eighty-five?

Will they have any meaning
for you in twenty-five?
What will the world be like?
Will there still be a land of the free?
Will it be destroyed by human disregard?
Or will it survive only in memory?

I can leave nothing more certain
than the joy I feel with God
who made a world
full of beauty and love.
No matter what your trials,
hang on to that.

Gracious and loving God over all,
tell me,
How can I serve you now?
Physical and mental powers fade,
but my soul cries out in joy
with each new day.
Yet this is not enough to clutch
for self alone,
the golden leaves that surprised me
at dawn outside my window;
the full-faced moon tonight
rising between trees
just beyond the church.

And now, here, a circle of seekers
'round the room
make for community,
hope for tomorrow,
a legacy for youth.

My mind wanders ...
in search of what?
I know not.
Lead me on.


I don't know when my life
became so untidy.
It just sneaked up on me.
Weeks of writing
celestial thoughts
as I wandered through the days
talking to my maker ...

Papers here and
papers there with
folders on the floor
a little dust between.
The mail arrived.
How to answer, I cannot think
adding more confusion.
My bed is still unmade
and dishes fill the sink.

I await computer helper
whom I cannot comprehend
to kick a virus out
while more and more pile up.
When will this clutter end?

I would not trade
these moments of bliss
for tidiest dwelling ever.
But where, dear God
in all this mess
have we left my glasses?


On my morning walk
a moment comes
when I feel the water of life
filling my cup.
It gives me strength.
It lifts me through the day.

But by evening
my portion is almost gone.
It is time to watch
the sparkling sky,
with its promise for tomorrow
and maybe, even more ...


As a child of five or six
I stood at the edge of the road,
my cousin's farmhouse nearby,
a vast cornfield and dense wood
was on the opposite side
covered in heavenly blue.
Only a train whistled by.

I thought of the noisy city
I called home;
houses, flats, apartments
all in a row;
autos, trucks, and streetcars
humming, honking, rattling by.

The haunting sound of trains
linked both our worlds and beyond.
I wondered at those different spheres
and if God, or I, could create others unlike
what I already knew
where we could all share
each other's lives.

I thought and thought on that farm
and when the night train whistle blew
across my city far.
As hard as I tried I could not view
outside what I already new.

From time to time I pondered again
as I grew, but had to accept
that God's mind
was greater than mine.


My father was agnostic,
he claimed.
Bible myths he disdained
and advised,
"Don't clutter our mind."

But at six I defied him.
Went to church school,
heard stories of Jesus,
sang hymns and
made friends.

A loving father
of intellectual bent,
he read Darwin and Rousseau
and was non-violent,
no spanking for me.
My conscience instead
would keep me from trouble
he said.

* * *

But later I found
the freedom to live as we please
may bring sorrow, distress and disease.
Drink ruled his life
and his actions, not theories
left our lives in the rubble.

From the soil I arose,
a tender shoot among others,
nourished and grew
seeking cover.

Christ is my haven.
of that I'm aware.
But God's love abides
in all those who care.


Into the woods we went.
I was not yet nine.
The winter was cold
and he, without a job,
tried to explain the world to me
in that quiet secluded spot
devoid of people,
leaves or even grass.

A frozen pond
amongst bare trees
has marked the spot
that's carried me
through years of hard times,
resentment, anger, distrust.

And pity, oh, yes, later pity
as his body wasted away,
eyes became sad
and voice was stilled.
Yet his hand scribbled on
with notes of advice,
"Use your head, Girl," his last.
No churchman he.

It was decades after he died
when on a long highway I cried
in wonder and amazement
at what a blessing he'd been
exporting knowledge, tolerance,
love of music, beauty,
the urge to write and the woods.
Oh, the woods.

April 2, 2009

Oh, Mother mine,
Let us sit and have a chat.
It's been almost seventy years
since we have done that.

I see you by the line
hanging clothes blowing in the wind.
The sun is out, the grass is green,
dots of yellow dandelions
grace the scene.

Oh mother mine, I know
your life was full of sadness.
You hardly ever laughed
yet brought me so much

On warm summer days
we strolled to the park.
I did somersaults on lawn.
You sat and read beside a bush.
On hotter days with picnic lunch,
we took two streetcars
and a ferry to the riverside.

Belle Isle was paradise;
swings beneath trees,
gaily decorated canoes sliding
under quaint, arched bridges;
at eventide the magic
of a rainbow fountain
and concert under a shell.

In winter cold and wet,
I came inside.
You took my damp clothes
as I shivered over the heat grate
and brought me hot chocolate.

Our trips downtown
on Saturday afternoon
were another delight,
Central Park shaded by trees,
with tall buildings all around.
We moved through aisles of perfume,
yard goods and ribbons,
lunched on hotdogs with buns
with time to listen
as handsome young man
played "Carolina Moon"
on grand piano,
all over too soon.

I see you pumping treadle
making dresses of yellow,
pink and green,
a coat of navy blue,
cut from Grandmother's
older, larger one.

Better than sensual pleasures
and physical care, you fostered
independence and adventure.
I wandered city streets alone,
joined after-school gymnastics
and drama.

When you knew you would not live
much longer, you pleaded strongly
that I not marry before nineteen.
I knew your words were wise,
but my world was so empty without you,
I soon did otherwise.

I've been more obedient
most of the time,
but if I've been good,
it is because
words you said at four,
I took to heart.
"An inner voice
will be your guide
to tell you right from wrong."

You followed Dad's lead
and seldom went to church.
But when I was ten
he left us in the lurch.
In a strange new city
you saw my discomfort,
urged me to go by myself
to the church of my choice.
I've gone ever since.
Wherever I was, you were with me
all along, you and God,
Mother Mine.

Fall 1977

Clouds fill the sky.
The rain falls.
My heart overflows
and tears roll.

I want to scream
I want to shout
I want to call
my beloved out.

Where has he gone?
Can he see me still?
No, let him be
painless for eternity.

Or let him see
I love him still
no matter what
the pain for me.

How short his life
How filled with good
Let it shine
now in mine.

Oh, Donald of the soft brown eyes
gentle voice, and loving care
that made this earthly life
for me almost paradise.

How can I clutch what we just had,
hold it closely, nurture it,
then let it go to bloom again
in some unknown way,
beyond my ken?

April 2009

Michigan Jim has traveled far and wide
mostly with Janet at his side.
It's different now, more difficult,
but fond memories still abide.
With a slower pace,
other places have been tried.

Woods still comfort and sustain
through sunshine, wind and rain.
His sons matured, grandchildren too.
Laws and torts were left behind,
but unsolved problems still remain
of politics and miscellaneous pain,
needing less muscle, more brain.

The outward-inward dance goes on:
people follies, society pitfalls,
What is right and what is wrong?
Which is weakness? Which is strength?
Why can't we just all get along?

Modest sage of Smith Creek,
comfort of widows,
I salute you, cousin, keep buzzin'!

No April Fool,
Happy Birthday!

Four windows bring light
into my back room slumber space.
Two look south, the others west.

During milder seasons
foliage of great trees block
the night time sights both ways.
But oh, the glories of the cold
when Orion flies the skies
across my southern view.

Back to Conneaut I am born
now stargazing with Dad,
home at Grandmother's house,
from a long job hunting trek
across the nation wide.

What a wondrous treat
to walk the sandy shore at eventide,
to gaze above at the changing dome,
yet recite so yearningly:

"Twinkle, twinkle little star.
How I wonder what you are
up above the world so high ..."
ending nightly with fervent wish,
Please dear God,
find my daddy a job!

Seventy plus years have passed.
Other children come to mind.
Have their parents lost jobs?
Have they lost their homes?
Has someone taken them in?

Or are they cold and hungry,
looking longingly
on high?

As hard as such times are,
new delights come to treasure,
like searching sky in clear weather.
Please dear God,
grant each as much as I.


Ah, yes, God's mind
was greater than mine.
But how did I fit in all this?

With help from my maker
through many blessings,
much turmoil and death,
husbands and children,
I tried to manage
without damaging
the shoots from our roots.
In my distress I sought knowledge
tending books in college and career
until husbands and children had flown,
my mates to heaven and offspring
to lives of their own.

Once again I was restless.
God responded with a quest
that reminded of search in the past
for a different world.

Though God was wiser,
the different world I sought
and thought sealed,
needed to be revealed.
Every ingredient was already here.
But those who inhabited
God's magnanimous gift
required a nudge, yes, from me
to help them see
how we may endure adversity,
caring for one other.

Would you believe?
I was led far away
from my sheltered home
and congenial job
East of China and Korea,
to bring back word
of good and generous people
still suffering in the far Pacific
from burning ash
of U.S. testing blast!

February 9, 2003

This land
your land
my land
Native American land
preserve it;
conserve it;
it deserves it.

In fear, bombs, missiles
is no security.
Schools deprived
guns survive.
impure water
unclean air,
let's show some maturity.

Endless war
seeking terrorists
can never please,
a solution worse
than the disease.

We can't control it.
We can't afford it.
A world aflame
we cannot tame.

US cannot survive
lest it contrive
to share our bounty
with others.
Stop robbing brothers.

That land
of the Bantu,
Koreans, Hindustani,
preserve it.
Their children deserve it.

That land of the Iraqis,
preserve it.
Their children deserve it.



Excerpted from CAPTURED BY LONG ICY WINTER by Margery McManus Leach. Copyright © 2010 by Margery McManus Leach. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Book One – Long Icy Winter      1     

1. Easter      2     

2. My Heartfelt Psalm/Prayer      3     

3. What A Mess!      4     

4. Living Water      5     

5. Creation      6     

6. Two Views Of My Father      7     

7. Why I Love The Woods      9     

8. Mother Mine      10     

9. Clouds      13     

10. Michigan Jim      14     

11. Beyond Orion      15     

12. New Thoughts On Creation      17     

13. Land      19     

14. Majestic Pine      21     

15. I Went To The Door      22     

16. No Mess Is This      23     

17. Hot Chocolate      24     

18. Promising Spring      25     

19. Oh Happy Birds      26     

20. Praise For Windows      27     

21. The Cardinal Sings      29     

22. I Know It's Spring      31     

23. Rain Bubbles      32     

24. Fog      33     

25. February Thaw For Lincoln's Birthday      35     

26. Pollution      36     

27. Psalm 46:10 – Variations      37     

28. Centering Prayer      38     

29. Bird Count      39     

30. Listening On Thanksgiving Morning      40     

31. Scriptural Prayer      41     

32. For New Widow      43     

33. Autumn Leaves      44     

34. Under Cloudy Sky      45     

35. Sometime Brook      46     

36. Evening Watch By Back Door      47     

37. Fear Not      48     

38. Acrostic Poem Of Praise      51     

39. Saturday Morning      52     

40. Sunday Afternoon Stage Fort Park      53     

41. Cressy's Beach      54     

42. Snowbound Days      55     

43. Tonight      56     

44. Christmas Eve Morning      57     

45. Black Pearls      58     

46. Postscript Can't Wait To Celebrate      60     

Book Two – From the Garden of My Life      63     

47. Long Winter Over      64     

48. Thirty-Nine Tulips      65     

49. My Little Cubby      66     

50. Spring Fever      67     

51. Three Goldfinch      68     

52. Easter Season      69     

53. Blessed Assurance      70     

54. Oh For A Birthday In May      73     

55. Light In The Window      75     

56. Welcome Home      76     

57. Joy In The Morning      77     

58. My Bower      78     

59. Lilacs And Wet Woods      80     

60. Silent Moment - News Photo      81     

61. Clang, Clang Went The Pans      82     

62. Tears Of Joy      84     

63. In The Garden—Reunion 2009      85     

64. Token      87     

65. As Summer Retreats      88     

66. Two Sunny Mornings      89     

67. September Morning      90     

68. Long Ago      92     

69. One World      93     

70. Apology      94     

71. Will I Remember?      95     

72. To My Hosts: Angela and Jesse      97     

73. Jesse's Tank      98     

74. Billowing Cloud      99     

75. Oh, Isabel!      101     

76. Perfect Perch      103     

Book Three – Silver Linings      105     

77. The Silver Lining      106     

78. This Is The Spot      107     

79. Dear, Dear Friend      108     

80. My Locust Tree      110     

81. Something New      111     

82. Ask Mr. Walton      113     

83. Orion's Return      115     

84. Crows Call      116     

85. Moonlight Sonata      118     

86. November 2009      120     

87. Rubies In Hiding      121     

88. Silver Sheath      122     

89. Early Blessed Assurance      123     

90. I Could Write A Hundred Poems      124     

91. You Must Wait      125     

92. Ravenswood Haven      126     

93. Red Velvet      129     

94. Moonlight With Wilma      131     

95. After The Storm      132     

96. Spring Sunset For Priscilla      133     

97. Half Moon Beach      134     

98. Death Of A Tree      136     

99. Empty Spaces      138     

100. Opportunity      139     

101. Postscript: I Must Walk In The Rain      140     

102. Readers Comment      143     

Customer Reviews