Mom-mom (Julia Ann Berry)

Mom-mom was my father's mother. She lived in the small town of East Prairie, Missouri, and wrote poems all her life.

My uncle Bob and his wife Maiola have edited a book of her poetry, titled She Lived A Poem, available in trade paperback (Library of Congress control number 200-309-5280).

If you'd like a copy (for yourself, relatives, to donate to your library, church, ...), please send a check for $12 per copy to Robert Berry / PO Box 3121/ Winter Haven, FL 33885. All profits will be donated to the Julia and Claud Berry Memorial Fund at the First Christian Church in East Prairie, where they were faithful members all their lives.

Here are a few of my favorite poems by her.
I miss you, Mom-mom.

NOT GOING (12in. snow, -18 temp)

When the wind begins to blow
from the North and it starts snowing
When cold stiffens then I know
The simple pleasure of not going

Highways overcast by ice
Air on which breath almost freezes
Clouds that tighten like a vice
On the sky -- nothing pleases

Quite so much as sitting by the fire
No time for straying -- now
and good to know that I
am home -- and justified in staying.


Dear Father,

     Let not others make too much of my birthday, it is of
       no significance,
     And let me not make too much of it either-
     Let not others make too much of my deathday- it will
       be of no significance.
     But dear Lord- help me make a celebration of all the
       days between,
     To Weave with shining threads this fragile frabric known
       as life.
                                        With Love to You


I wish someone could say of me
When I depart
She lived a poem
She did her part
The flowers grew brighter in her bed
The shining hours flew so she said.
Her laughter dulled the edge of grief
It brought blessings to each emerging leaf.
She lived a poem.

EAST PRAIRIE (April 29, 1977)

This is the town my heart has known
over the fields soft winds have blown
Telling of the lives of gentle folk
Patient-honest with time to joke
There are the steeples, high in the blue,
of churches that faith and prayer make true
These are the houses old and sweet
These are the walks where happy feet
danced at picnics - hunted
Christmas trees
There is the pond (crowded ditch) with memories
Here is the graveyard
holding the sun - dreams
of those whose work is done
The school house is here
softened with time, still as dear
in hearts like mine that I find
rest - in this town that
  I like best.


IN MEMORY OF CLAUD (July 23, 1977)

When you were here
and when I heard
your step - your laugh - your
every word
when I touched your arm -
your hand
It's hard to understand
sometimes it tears my heart apart
why just now should you depart
But when you left
even now your presence lingers
on - I close my eyes
     I see your face
I think of your laughter
and your grace
I wonder sometimes
how this can be
But I know you too
think of me.

[one of my lonesome days]

  Do not for me Weep
  I am not here- I do not sleep
  I am the thousand Winds that blow
  I am a diamond glint on the snow
  I am the sunlight on the grain
  I am the Autumn's gentle rain
  I am the birds circling in flight
  So do not at my grave cry
  I am not there-- I did not die
--Julia "Mom-mom" Berry


Warm summer sun
  shine brightly here
Warm southern wind
  blow softly here
Green sod above - lie light
  lie light
Good night dear son -
  good night
  good night
David was peacefully released, May 12, 1976.
--Mom-mom, May 1977

ZINNIAS (one of my favorite flowers)

There should be a rhyme
for zinnias
of simple lines not wordy
But bright, strong, dependable
as zinnias are - as sturdy
Nothing fragile nor dainty here
no dropping heart - no bell - 
no star
staunch vivid rows of
colored cheer
Zinnias are just what
they are -