Writers-in-Residence Excerpts of Work

Mary Lythgoe Bradford - Poet, biographer, essayist


The Marys of Ireland

In the land of Marys every Mary is unique:
The Post Office Mary,
The Marys that sit in a line at a party:
Mary and Mary and her daughter, Rosemary,
And there’s the golden-haired Mary
Who runs the golden B&B on the Bay.

Ireland has elected two Marys,
And is unashamed to worship Mary
And to use her name as friendly expletive.
I, the Mary from Virginia,
Am welcomed: Rosarie calls me "Marydear,"
I am invited and gifted and pronounced "Great Craic."

That ancient name from a grandmother I never met,
That my children dare not use,
That in my youth was pronounced common
And made the butt of jokes:
Old grey Mare she ain’t what she used to be,
In Ireland has a lilt, and it slides off the tongue.

Mary Lythgoe Bradford
Arlington, Virginia, USA

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