Nancy Seidman was not published in her lifetime. But her talent, long recognized by family and friends, moved them to publish a collection of her work in 1987, five years after her death. Nancy often visited Gloucester to see her daughter, Kate Seidman, her son-in-law, Mitch Cohen, and her grandchildren. Mitch, a native of Gloucester, read several of her poems at the Gloucester Reads Poetry event at Sawyer Free Library in the fall of 2008.
News of Me – 7/2/79
I’m here in Gloucester, near the beach.
My grandson finished breakfast,
Danced his dance,
And is sleeping now.
My daughter is working at her craft,
Preparing pots and tiles for showing
Sunday at her new gallery.
We could be comfortable, easy with each other,
She, busy, in motion constantly,
Has energy enough to move the tides.
And I, slowed down and resting outside,
Am watching waves form and break
And roll to shore,
And listening to the calm rhythm of the surf,
And looking at families clustered on the sand.
My daughter and I cold be content here –
Talking, laughing, touching, from time to time –
But we are not.
Something happened to our visit.
We have grown in different ways.
She into her new and chosen place of union
Where she is loved and loves, where she is happy.
And I into the single life I share with friends
Where I am known, where I am happy.
I will go home soon and when I leave, I will leave
Knowing that the distance we feel now is not forever,
Knowing that we care deeply for each other,
And the time will come when
My daughter and I can share a common language.
The Jack and Jill Story – Reconsidered
I don’t know why they went up there,
But I don’t, for a minute, believe it was for water.
I also don’t believe Jack fell down the hill.
I think Jill pushed him down and then,
Ninny that she was, she thought
The least that she could do was tumble after.
Never underestimate the power of guilt.
My People – Yes
My father’s father was a Homburg hat and
silver handled cane.
My father’s mother was an heirloom samovar.
My mother’s father was a simple plough and a great
handful of grain.
My mother’s mother was a strong and luminous star.
My father was a Russian-Jewish black bread and a
magnum of champagne.
My mother was a lilac tree in blossom and a Bach
played on a guitar.
My sister is an apple pie that’s in the oven rising.
And I can’t tell you who I am – I’m