Join us Tuesday, April 16th at 5:00 for an event with Ms. Bee Donley in honor of her new poetry book Mostly Ghosts. The event will be held in our Dot Com building adjacent to Banner Hall.
This December, I was given a surprise from my 12th grade English teacher, Bee Donley. (She was also my daughter, Saramel’s, high school English teacher.) Bee had given me a copy of her book of poetry: Mostly Ghosts. A perfect gift since Christmas time is about sharing joy and reflecting on our shared memories.
I’ve slowly worked through her little book and have enjoyed reading of her past and of her inner self.
Mostly Ghosts is divided into three sections, titled: Ghosts, Delta Poems, and Through the Mists. The poems reflect Bee’s past as she shares memories of her father, WWII, and a young lady’s romantic memories.
“Women listen; men only think they do.
Maybe that’s not fair.
But only women hear an inflection
Go suddenly flat
Catch a turn of head that speaks disinterest
Sense a turning out, the murmured response.
And all good Southern girls know
To turn the conversation”
-from “Generally Speaking”
Bee (Ms. Donley) is one of the loveliest ladies I’ve ever known. Her wise beauty is so well reflected in her poetry.
Perhaps my favorite poem, “Quail Hunting with my Father,” reflects Bee’s core and her ability to relate to her high school students.
“my father got a cup of hot coffee
That he spooned Jack Daniels into.
We settled down as we watched
sparks from the fireplace
And always the unspoken words kept
my life together.”
In her poem, “Litany on an Eighty-fifth Birthday,” I believe Bee is at her best. Those who know her know she is an example of a well lived life:
“What happened to that girl, the dancer, the flirt,
the wife, the mother?
I don’ recognize this stranger.
What happened to all the yesterdays?
Get out the rose chiffon and let’s dance.”
It’s odd how our paths cross; figuring out why is another story. Bee was kind to me, she passed me even though I was a terrible student, allowing me to graduate from high school. My 12th grade term paper on Ian Fleming’s James Bond, reflected my youthful love of reading mysteries. She gave me an “A” and I skated out of Murrah by a sliver. Little did we both know that in later years she would become a loyal follower of Lemuria. All these years our lives have stayed connected through reading. She is my teacher, and I her bookseller.
Bee is a dear friend and a fine poet. Let me conclude with the final lines of her poem, “Precedence”:
“I have no problem believing that
Dogs and trees and right paths go together”
Written by John