June 17, 2010

Our Emily Dickinson: Evelyn Coffey

Catherine EVELYN Coffey
Born: 8 December 1907 Cleveland, Ohio
Died: 14 July 2001 Detroit, Michigan
Poetry has created a longing in my heart, I want to go to the 1930's and meet Evelyn Coffey as a Young Woman.

I knew Evelyn as a Wise Woman. She lived next door behind framed stained glass that covered her upper flat windows. I never went into her home, now I wonder why --for I longed to live into her life. I have imagined memories of what her flat looked like. But we lived together, separately.  Me a teenager, she an octogenarian.

Evelyn came into our home. Every day. She let herself in with her key. Daily she gave her love to our dog. She was the keeper of his bliss, she walked and pampered him, he dined on boned chicken, fed by hand --that she prepared, every day. I watched silently, secretly, and listened to her heart speak through coos and coddling to a little Bishon Frise --she loved life and honored every moment. I learned from her.

Pat my new friend, and Evelyn's relative, started a blog to share Evelyn Coffey with the world: http://evelyncoffey.blogspot.com/.  You will find stories of the life of an heroic woman and a gifted poet,
 "At Cleveland College (Western Reserve University) the poets called me their little Emily Dickinson. At the time I didn't even know who she was; but Julia and Jack took me to Amherst and I have pressed flowers from her garden."
Mixed among things I have inherited, that were once Evelyn's, are pressed flowers.  I wonder... are they from Emily's garden?

I will exist in the mystery of her and trust in the beauty of her poetry:

Happiness is a quiet spring
Born of a thought, a poem, song
Or smile.  Like waters murmuring

Glad secrets to the swimming throng
Of earth-folk in their floating homes,
With inner joy its music gong

Breathes mellow notes, and low. It roams
To other hearts with gay delight
And gentle tread, like sprites or gnomes

That dance upon the sea at night --
Staccato steps, melodic rhyme --
Or colors playing with sunlight.

Happiness is heart and soul chime,
Throbbing in harmony with time.

Evelyn Coffey
16 October 1933

1 comment:

  1. You've shared still another facet of this remarkable person, and shown me insights into who she was. Thank you so much!
    Note that this happy poem was written when her sister and mother still lived. Rose would die the next year and their mother two years after that.
    Cousin Pat

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