Monday, November 18, 2013

Matrilineal Monday (November 18, 2013) -- Poem by Nettie Flagg Cooke

Florence Leonette Cooke (nee Flagg) is my great grandmother (my mother's mother's mother). She was born in Southborough, Massachusetts on May 13, 1870 and she died at age 34 on July 20, 1904 in N. Attleboro, Massachusetts -- almost exactly three months after the death of her last child.  She was always known as "Nettie."

As I have written elsewhere her at The Prism, my grandmother was one of six children of Nettie Flagg Cooke and her husband, Walter Wilson Cooke (1869 - 1944).  Tragically, Nettie and Walter lost three of their six children: Russell Cooke (1893 - 1894); Dorothy B. Cooke (1899 - 1907); and Russell Church Cooke (1902 - 1904).  As might be expected, this deeply saddened Nettie and quite likely contributed to her untimely death at age 34.

Shown above is an undated poem Nettie wrote that exhibits her depression, pain, and yet hope for something better.  I suspect this was written not long after the death of her son Russell Church Cooke on April 23, 1904.  A transcription of the poem follows . . . 

                    Shut in by sickness
                    Saddened by disappointment
                    I lay and watched one day
                           The setting sun.
                     I'm one day nearer home I murmured
                           And I'm glad, so glad
                               The day is done.

                      I closed my eyes and let
                      The mystic spell of twilight
                           Soothe me to rest
                      Ere the last crimson ray had gone
                           When suddenly the room
                      Was filled with brightness
                           For the lights were on
                       And so in this way, perhaps
                            Death may come to me
                        When life's little day is done
                         We close our eyes, but for a moment
                         To open them in Heaven's brightness
                                 Where God's lights are always on.

                   Nettie Flagg Cooke

Nettie Flagg Cooke

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Scan of original poem in the collection of the author.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

1 comment:

  1. A great story and poem, John. I think average people in the era before radio and television wrote more poetry than we do today because they were less distracted and used their talents, even if it was on such a melancholy subject. By the way, North Attleborough isn't too far from here and my brother lived there for several years with his family.

    Thanks for both your contributions to the Challenge!