8. There’s No Place Like Home

“Gardens” is written by Mary Roberts Finch, a Somers Point resident, and dwells on that most homey of South Jersey occupations, gardening. Accompanied by lovely black and white illustrations, the poem is written with traditional rhyme and form. With its powerful first line, “God is in gardens,” it suggests the significance of the correlation between nature and God. This poem highlights the “Garden State” aspect of our home.

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

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Elizabeth Leeds Tait is a descendant of Quaker pioneers who settled in New Jersey in the late seventeenth century. Tait grew up and spent much of her time in a house that was built for her grandfather Henry H. Leeds in Rancocas. She takes pride in the ancestry associated with her family home. In her book simply entitled Words, you can find the poem “My House.” In this poem, Tait captures not only the physical aspects of a house and a home, but also personifies her home as a physical being that has the ability to see, smile, and comfort. She taps into her family history in the last stanza where she says that the house can tell her of her mother and grandfather in their prime. Essentially, this is a simplistic poem that captures the essence of the phrase “Home is where the heart is.”

Tait, Elizabeth Leeds. “My House.” Words . . . N.p.: By the author?, 1978.

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This clipping, found stowed away amongst the pages of Tait’s Words, describes an interview with the poet with regard to the publication of her poetry. She states that the collection would not have existed if not for her daughter Betsey, and in the opening pages of the book can be found the dedication, “For Betsey . . . because she wanted them.” Tait explains the importance of her family home to her, and describes her feelings regarding the fact that she, most likely, will be the last of her family to reside in the house. She sums up her feelings: “It’s not sad, but different.”

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A cadet at the Valley Forge Military Academy when he began to write the poems in The Water Lily and Other poems, P. Mortimer Lewis III, a native of Ocean City, was a mere 16 in 1928 when the collection was published. In his poem “Comforts of Home,” he captures the essence of not wanting to emerge from bed. As you read the poem, you too can feel the cool wind brush by as you dig yourself deeper under a comforter. Although the poem is not long, the reader relates to its feeling of home.

Lewis, P. Mortimer, III. “Comforts of Home.” The Water Lily and Other Poems. Norristown, Pa.: The Norristown Press, 1929.

The beaches are one of the most engaging aspects of living at the Jersey shore. All residents have different stories to tell relating to the shoreline. Susan Joan Gordon, a native of Ventnor, published The Road I Travel about her life and experi-ences here. One poem, delightfully titled “Untitled II,” describes the familiar act of holding seashells to one’s ear on the beach. The short, accessible poem was written for anyone who also calls the beach home and who can relate to the act she describes. She concludes the poem by describing in the final line the “native force.” This, perhaps, is something that only seasoned beachgoers will understand.

Gordon, Susan Joan. “Untitled II.” The Road I Travel. Ventnor, N.J.: Ventnor Pub-lishers, 1964.

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