By Dotsie Isaac
A seedling of the Hampson stock
Planted firmly in the Antiguan rock . . . in Winthorpes
Uprooted by the Americans for military space
She was replanted in a new place.
In the New Winthorpes this daughter blossomed and grew
Into. . .
Author, matriarch and mother
Dear wife of a preacher
She was Mary Georgianna Quinn.
Only she could tell
Of all her talents which one she loved so well
Enough for it to be number one.
Some would dare say… author
For her characters left the black-and-white of the page
Came alive in vibrant colours, acting on the stage
Of our imagination.
She could do that.
She was Grand Dame of poetry and prose
So could that have been her favourite, you suppose?
Scores of yellow, legal pads
Scribing every thought, every idea she’s ever had
No computer or Microsoft word; pure long-hand
That’s the way she got it done
Shuffling her words into timing and rhyming
Rearranging her lexis across the pages
Metering it into rhythm and verses
Tales of Mama and Papa; and love; and love of mangoes
First kiss by the sugar mill, and who knows?
The arsenal of words in her possession
Shaped her perfect alchemy of expression
But she also waxed poetic in scripture and verse
So could her greatest love have been the Church?
She proclaimed her Christianity
Taught about the Bible and sanctity
Superintendent of Sunday school
Teaching the golden text and golden rule
But hundreds of her past students may disagree
Hands in the air they say, “Pick me! Pick me!”
And they would say “Teacher.”
Teacher is the one she loved best
The reading, writing and ‘rithmetic tests
And all the loving time she spent
On our manners and personal development
The “yes m’ams,” “no sirs,” and all the “I am sorrys.”
The “thank you,” “good morning, teacher,” the “excuse me please.”
The the special way she made us feel
After all those decades she remembered our names
So much of what she instilled in us still remains.”
Then there was the great love of her life
The one who made her his honourable wife
Mary was hers …. and Joseph, his name
But not the ones of immaculate conception fame
Joseph and his beautiful, new bride
Were indeed quite fruitful, and they multiplied
They brought eight children into the world
Five boys with biblical names and three girls
A brood of which she could not be more proud
Spiritual, accomplished and well endowed
With talent and intelligence of her pedigree
Perhaps her children are her best legacy
A round of applause for the life of this extraordinary woman
Who gave for the pure joy of giving
Gave without ever expecting.
Between her poetry and songs and stories
Between her hallelujahs and her glories
She’s given so much to community and nation
She gave so much to education
She gave to it with all her heart
She’s given to culture and the arts
She’s given us her very own children
Educators and teachers
Activists, orators and a preacher
She’s given us our very first elected woman parliamentarian
Mary Geo Quinn did that!
Oh yes! She did much good
And she held the line for as long as she could
After eighty-seven years she’s gone…but not without a trace
For she’s left her mark all over the place.
Raise the standard for this remarkable woman.
This impeccable daughter of Antiguan soil.
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