7. Seasons in the Pines

On display are works of poetry that relate to the seasons of the year in South Jersey. This poetry, along with accompanying artwork, reminds readers of the varied moods invoked by the changes in our weather.

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The beach is most often a symbol that goes hand-in-hand with the summer season, especially at the Jersey shore where warm, sunny weather brings vibrant life to the ocean side. During the off-season, Jersey beaches are often desolate and bare, creating a mood completely opposite the happiness and bustle of the summer months. Sarah Leeds Ash, a native of Atlantic City, shows the disconnect between symbol and season in “The Beach in Autumn.” Achieving a tone that reflects a feeling of emptiness, Ash is able to capture a sense of void through her careful wording. It is instructive to compare the tone of this poem with that in “Eternity is Now,” on the adjoining page; both poems use the beach as symbol, but the effects are quite different.

Ash, Sarah Leeds. “The Beach in Autumn”; “Eternity is Now.” Changeless Shore. Haverford: Haverford House, 1962.

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Stars and Dust, written by Mary Finch of Somers Point, is a collection of poems, pictures, and illustrations that portray our local seasons. “Winter” describes the beauty of our South Jersey winters, especially at the shore.

In “Haiku 2,” John Mahoney describes the stillness of a winter night.

Finch, Mary Roberts. “Winter.” Stars and Dust: A Collection of Poems, Paintings and Photographs. Catonsville, Maryland: By the author, 1969.

Mahoney, John J. “Haiku 2.” Summer Tides and Cinnamon Thyme. Philadelphia: Dorrance & Company, 1969.

According to Margery Wells Steer, winter is a period meant for contemplation and waiting for change. Steer wrote The View in Winter at the age of 92. Many of its poems reflect upon the many years that lay behind her, or anticipate the few that remained. Although Steer was not a native of Jersey, she spent her final years at her daughter’s home in Merchantville, Camden County, where this book of poems was published.

Steer, Margery Wells. The View in the Mirror: A Book of Poems. With watercolors by Alice Steer Wilson. Merchantville, N.J.: Southbound Press, 1992.

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