Old Poem Saturday – Life – Treasone


Today’s quatrain is from another mysterious poet – despite this poem’s inclusion in a number of anthologies and websites, I could find next to nothing about the author. I did find an obituary for a Grace Treasone whose life would have encompassed the correct time frame (the poem is listed as having been written around 1963); it did not mention poetry, but the name is unusual enough that I have included those dates here. Another thing I discovered about this poem is that it spends a fair bit of time on “worst of” poetry lists, both online and in books (it does get the occasional vote of confidence, though). When choosing a poem to illustrate, I have never considered such rankings – I look for poems that pair with images and ideas in my imagination and then I seek to execute what I have in mind. The research comes afterward when writing the post. I am curious what folks think of it. I will say that, as someone who has suffered from dental problems all of my life, I did sympathize with the metaphor! Photo collage (the lower one is of a reliquary from the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and composition by me.


  1. I’m so glad you liked and appreciated my Moms poem, I told her how proud I was of her for writing such a poem that would make people think, although it was very short, she told me it just meant; life is hard & a struggle and if you can figure out a way to cope and remember your mistakes, you can have a chance at happiness in your heart, p.s you got the dates right, I miss her very much, Ellen, her daughter


    1. Dear Ellen, Thank you so much for getting in touch with me! I am so happy to be able to put a definite identity with this lovely poem. I know it has meant a great deal to and inspired a lot of people – including myself. Your mother touched so many with it, it is a legacy that most poets only dream of. I would like to update my readers about the dates, maybe do another illustration for it – would you mind if I mention your kind note to them? Thanks again! Sincerely, Marcy


  2. I find that about artists too: I see something I like and can find no information online about the artist. I suppose it’s because worked “before google” and their family has not tried to preserve their legacy online, or maybe anywhere. I was looking for information on WPA artists especially and could find nothing about many of them.
    I don’t understand the “worst of” designation either. Maybe because it rhymes and rhyming is out of style?


    1. It’s a reminder that information doesn’t automatically appear on the internet – I think you have nailed it on the head – if the artist has no family or fans to preserve their legacy and transfer the information to a website (or Wikipedia or something), and they lived and died before the internet, then they basically disappear.
      One syllabus of a poetry course mentioned that the metaphor in the poem is mixed and/or clumsy (one question they posed was: Why would you laugh if your tooth is fixed?) – but I think that person must have never suffered from dental pain. The poem worked for me with the imagery of pain followed by relief.


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