Monday, March 21, 2011

"The Giveaway" (from The Love Letters of Phyllis McGinley)

"The Giveaway"

Saint Bridget was

A problem child.

Although a lass

Demure and mild,

And one who strove

To please her dad,

Saint Bridget drove

The family mad.

For here's the fault in Bridget lay:

She would give everything away.

To any soul

Whose luck was out

She'd give her bowl

Of stirabout;

She'd give her shawl,

Divide her purse

With one or all.

And what was worse,

When she ran out of things to give

She'd borrow from a relative.

Her father's gold,

Her grandsire's dinner,

She'd hand to cold

and hungry sinner;

Give wine, give meat,

No matter whose;

Take from her feet

The very shoes,

And when her shoes had gone to others,

Fetch forth her sister's and her mother's.

She could not quit.

She had to share;

Gave bit by bit

The silverware,

The barnyard geese,

The parlor rug,

Her little

niece's christening mug,

Even her bed to those in want,

And then the mattress of her aunt.

An easy touch

For poor and lowly,

She gave so much

And grew so holy

That when she died

Of years and fame,

The countryside

Put on her name,

And still the Isles of Erin fidget

With generous girls named Bride or Bridget.

Well, one must love her.


In thinking of her


There's no denial

She must have been

A sort of trial

Unto her kin.

The moral, too, seems rather quaint.

Who had the patience of a saint,

From evidence presented here?

Saint Bridget? Or her near and dear?

(from The Love Letters of Phyllis McGinley, New York, Viking Press, 1957) Thank you to Oremus.

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