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For My Daughters

p oet ry

DOROTHY DARLING KERPER photo gr a ph y

DOROTHY KERPER MONNELLY


Introduction

This book has its origins in a box of my mother’s poetry I found in the attic when I was a young teenager, and has evolved into a dialog between our two art forms. As she foretold in her poem,” Against Loneliness—A Bequest”, her poetry not only resonated with my own way of thinking, but also gave me the idea of combining it with my photographs. My process has been to let the poems take the lead, with my photographs responding along the way. As happens so often between generations, the conversation flows, and I have enjoyed extending this silent dialog with my images. One pairing she might have especially appreciated is the photograph of her treasured finger bowls, even though her poem is the story of my breaking the eighth one. (Still Life, 1941).

The sequence of poetry follows my mother’s life from memories of her childhood on through maturity, marriage, children and struggles with breast cancer. Our shared passion is perhaps best summed up by my mother’s words: What deep compelling secret of the genes and chromosomes Has fixed this obligation for me in my mind To find words to express the inexpressible?


Introduction

This book has its origins in a box of my mother’s poetry I found in the attic when I was a young teenager, and has evolved into a dialog between our two art forms. As she foretold in her poem,” Against Loneliness—A Bequest”, her poetry not only resonated with my own way of thinking, but also gave me the idea of combining it with my photographs. My process has been to let the poems take the lead, with my photographs responding along the way. As happens so often between generations, the conversation flows, and I have enjoyed extending this silent dialog with my images. One pairing she might have especially appreciated is the photograph of her treasured finger bowls, even though her poem is the story of my breaking the eighth one. (Still Life, 1941).

The sequence of poetry follows my mother’s life from memories of her childhood on through maturity, marriage, children and struggles with breast cancer. Our shared passion is perhaps best summed up by my mother’s words: What deep compelling secret of the genes and chromosomes Has fixed this obligation for me in my mind To find words to express the inexpressible?


To My Children

These poems are the best of me, my dears In them exasperations are forgot In them all things live on as I would have them And as they were truly written I could not shape my life to be A smooth and winged thing Hampered, limpid, with broken wings But I could hear the beat of strong swift flight And of that splendid flight I sing.


To My Children

These poems are the best of me, my dears In them exasperations are forgot In them all things live on as I would have them And as they were truly written I could not shape my life to be A smooth and winged thing Hampered, limpid, with broken wings But I could hear the beat of strong swift flight And of that splendid flight I sing.


Love Is

Love is a second sight and a clairvoyance It is a window and searchlight Shining through that window On the shrouded secrets of another soul. Love is the key that lets one in To dwell awhile amid the splendors Of another’s isolation. Love is the Rosetta Stone and the Philosopher’s Stone. It translates foreign tongues And makes them golden.


Love Is

Love is a second sight and a clairvoyance It is a window and searchlight Shining through that window On the shrouded secrets of another soul. Love is the key that lets one in To dwell awhile amid the splendors Of another’s isolation. Love is the Rosetta Stone and the Philosopher’s Stone. It translates foreign tongues And makes them golden.


Wife Takes a Vacation

If you will hold my world for me awhile I’ll fetch you golden apples from Hesperides. Nor think I’ll try to trick you into holding it forever. I need a little trip to polish up my wits, My heart is tired, too, and eyes are not so bright, From looking on these same familiar things so long. This beauty’s dimmed by habit and by care. I shall come back and bring you some of all I saw, And all I felt. My happiness will overflow on you, And all these usual things will have their loveliness born new.


Wife Takes a Vacation

If you will hold my world for me awhile I’ll fetch you golden apples from Hesperides. Nor think I’ll try to trick you into holding it forever. I need a little trip to polish up my wits, My heart is tired, too, and eyes are not so bright, From looking on these same familiar things so long. This beauty’s dimmed by habit and by care. I shall come back and bring you some of all I saw, And all I felt. My happiness will overflow on you, And all these usual things will have their loveliness born new.


For My Daughters  

A beautiful pairing of a mother's poetry, written for her daughters, with photographs inspired by the poems, taken by her daughter, Dorothy...

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