Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Poetry and Passing of Mrs. Hannum

The month of April seems to be just flying by. With lots of farm work to be done and perfect weather to compliment these tasks, I am afraid my time at the computer has been scarce. Although I have had little time to reflect in front of the keyboard, all this outdoor time has allowed me the gift of inspiration and thankfulness that comes with the enjoyment of the unbelievably beautiful landscape that makes up chester county in the spring.

It is hard not to feel blessed this time of year. As I have been busily gathering supplies, plants, potting soil for the season to come--it warrants these short trips in and around the area, and a time to take in the full glory of the views and vistas of Southern Chester County. For much of the growing season my gaze is spent focused on the ground, so I appreciate the chance to truly enjoy what is affectionately known as "Hunt Country"--a landscape that would rival any other in beauty this time of year.

The protection and preservation of this landscape was due in large part to Master of the Fox Hunt Nancy Penn Smith Hannum, who passed away at the age of ninety early on in the month. I could go on and on about Mrs. Hannum's fierce yet full of grace personality, the attributes she shared with my grandmother, and how grateful I am that our community was filled with these amazing matriarchs that were not afraid to speak their mind, shape their community, and love their family (click here to read a great piece by Chris Barber). Instead I want to share this wonderful poem written by Mrs. Hannum's granddaughter Christianna Hannum Miller (pictured above as a young girl with her grandmother). A wonderful summation of a life well lived. Her legacy is the landscape we all enjoy so passionately, what a gift to the community.

Shall I Go Lightly – a poem for NPSH

Shall I go lightly
down Applegrove Road
Riding one leading two
Grandchildren in tow
One, two, three and on
posting on ponies fat and gray, chestnut and bay

Shall I sit on the edge of the swimming pool
Iced tea, broken arm and Lilly skirt
While children play in the dank, green
Deep end
jumping from the wooden dive.

Shall we stand in the tack room
Practicing our reins
Practicing, practicing
Among racing tack, wooden trunks
Leather girths and saddle pads

Shall I stop at Spingdell Deli
For a Mountain Dew and a sandwich
sit for a second to talk the cost of hay,
the King Ranch
And the cattle that lived there.

Shall we pile on top of the Jeep Wagoneer
Ages one thru thirteen
roll around
holding on tight
While speeding down the drive
Mothers aghast.

Shall I pass once again through Saturday country
Pinkerton, Chalfant, Brooklawn and Webbs
Heels fiercely down
hands light and sailing
over the Brooklawn Double
And on towards home.

Shall I pass through this natural world
Heart brave and soundly beating -
I shall.

2010 Christianna Potter Hannum Miller

Ida Lofting-my grandmother (left) Nancy Penn Smith Hannum-christy's grandmother (right) watching a horse event.

1 comment:

The lady of the house... said...

I thought you would find it interesting to know that friends of Mrs. Hannum will be having a 2 day antique sale tomorrow, (January 14th 10am-8pm) and Saturday, (January 15th 10am-8:30pm) and Sunday, (January 16th 1pm-9pm) at her estate~~Brooklawn, (1825 Newark Road).

I was there today and found some treasures to be sure. Please spread the word.....EVERYTHING MUST GO!! Feel free to contact me if you'd like.....