Mary Pargeter is a woman of my generation, who has published a small collection of very personal poems that touched me deeply. I urge all who want to experience their own thoughts written by another, less coy, perhaps more anxious person, to take time to read this booklet. Read it on your own. To yourself. Be prepared to be stopped in your tracks. But read all the poems. Then, don’t think about Mary’s life, think about your own. And what you can do to make it richer, less lonely, less unfinished in terms of relationships. With your parents, lovers, children, good friends. And strangers who become friends.
The publisher, George Boughton, introduced me to this booklet when we were working together in Hertfordshire earlier this year. Between work, I was staying in a local bed and breakfast and had something to eat in the village. The night I read Mary’s poems, I was in a Turkish Restaurant, enjoying a first class repast. As I read through the early poems, I became captivated, almost not wanting the next course to arrive, in case it stopped me completing a poem. Then, as I read “The Hospital Room” to the end, I had to close the book, put it down, and try to re-enter the real world again. Mary had taken me to the time of my own Mother’s death. Not exactly. Not specifically. But “dear hands that” …lay “stilled beneath the draped sheet” brought me close to tears and barely able to breath. I had to wait until I returned to my room to finish the book. On my own.
Other poems tell us more about Mary than ourselves – her loves and losses, her poems written for others’ losses (goodbye rob); Loch Awe gets me, a Scotsman, as a memory of my childhood experience of holiday visits. Not to Loch Awe. But that doesn’t matter. The touch, the link, the memory, the emotion are there, through Mary’s careful crafting of her words. Probably written for herself, not us.
Mary undersells herself everywhere you look. At first read, this could be a rather sad, lonely, unsuccessful story. But, I bet it isn’t. That is just the way she wants to present the pieces she is sharing with us here. This is emphasised in the lower case style of the title page and throughout the book.
I feel Mary may have initially been a little reluctant to expose herself in these poems. May I suggest that she publishes again? Soon. And, while more of the heartfelt sorry would be an obvious area for embellishment, I would be pleased to read (hear?) more of what success, joy and fulfillment are like now to Mary. If anything gets better in later life, my experience is that it the ability of some, like Mary, to hit the button with words that unlock the image of life to others less experienced, for their benefit. My human experience has been enriched by reading these poems. It is up to you if you are open to enrich yours…..
Angus Morris (RFA retrd)
JOURNEY IN SHADES by Mary Pargeter (Pub: 2013)
isbn: Print 9780957297043 eBook 9780957297036 Kindle 9780957297029