Mom and Three Islands

You left one island for another
To become a wife and mother
From Dublin to Red Island a new life to embrace
Day by day the goal was for the betterment
Through island life and then resettlement
Standing tall, friend to all, child of hope and grace

It wasn’t always easy living
Life in the new land could be unforgiving
And different from the one you’d lived in the city you left behind
Courage, love and hope sustained
You worked through hardship and through pain
To became the constant guiding light as through life our paths did wind


And the summers we got to spend
Back with you in Ireland
Built for my sister and me whole new world to explore
Bay to city; children transformed
And a part of Dublin in us reborn
Three homes, three lives three islands that reside within us evermore

But then your parents passed away
So tragically, on the same day
A trip had to be made to settle affairs of life and heart
A legacy stolen, treachery
You took the high road so easily
And unselfishly you moved on; another brand new start

Mom, Me and Sis taken Aug 12, 1988 (my wedding day)

Mom, Me and Sis taken Aug 12, 1988 (my wedding day)

As time moved on and your health failed
That love and grace it never paled
A smile and thoughts for others until the end it came
To us left here you’re never gone
Your gentle hand and heart live on
That smile and then your laughter when someone says your name

The songs and music still remain
Ave Maria and La Boheme
Opera never was for me but your music’s in my bones
Each time my fingers touch the strings
I think of you and my heart sings
A song for three island places that through you became our homes

Catherine T. Hayes-McCormack-Barry,
Always missed


About Maurice A. Barry

Coordinator: Teaching and Learning Commons, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Parent & Husband. eLearning consultant/coordinator. Program Development Specialist - eLearning (Department of Education; Retired). Writer: over 40 Math/Physics texts/webs. Developer & Manager of web content. Geek. Not into awards but loves comments.
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35 Responses to Mom and Three Islands

  1. Gosh, I am impressed with your ability to make poetry rhyme. And such uprooting back then too. She died young though 😦

    I was looking at your wedding picture and thinking you got married a long time ago. And then realised I was married a few years before that!

    • Funny about time, isn’t it? We ‘put our heads down’ and get on with life and then, one day, we stop and take stock and realize just how far we’ve journeyed. Our 25th happens this August–a wonderful life.
      Yes, Mom died way too soon. Heart disease was something that affected all her family. So ironic; someone whose heart was so strong in one sense…

  2. johnlmalone says:

    a very moving and worthy tribute to your mother on this day devoted to our mums. I believe through these posts you are finding your ‘inner poet’ and we are richer for it. I don’t know how we got to know each other but I’m glad we do

    • Thanks John. The Internet is a wonderful place, isn’t it? half a world away (my antipodal opposite is in the ocean a bit south of Brisbane) and yet so much in common. :>)

      • johnlmalone says:

        I must amend my Facebook page. I actually live in Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, alongside the beach. But I do travel to Brisbane three or four times a year to see the grandkids so it feels like living in Brisbane, a very hilly capital.

        btw I left a question for you under your comment on my ‘slipper’ blog; I’m dying to find out more about where you live. I may even go back and visit earlier posts

  3. jennypellett says:

    Your mother’s strength comes through in your heartfelt poem. She was born in the same year as my father – theirs was a tough generation. I wonder if our children will be able to summon up a similar strength from us. I hope so.

    • Yes, they learned to appreciate things. This generation has been the beneficiaries of all those hard-fought gains and tend to take them for granted.
      …and, as such will likely lose them.
      But one can hope.

  4. I love your telling of family through poetry. Very moving.

  5. mary says:

    A loving tribute.Thanks for remembering and celebrating our mother in this poem – You and Josephine took such good care of her always – I hope you are both celebrating today – it has been such a joyous spring for you two – graduations and dances – wishing you many more upcoming celebrations incl. that significant anniversary:)

    • So…ya getting down? Free room and board here. Food’s okay too.

      • Mary says:

        I’ll fly down hopefully one of these times soon – Food is much better than OK! Finest kind. Again thanks for creating this beautiful tribute – I shared it with her Grandaughters; a good memento for them too.Thanks again!

  6. Tracy says:

    I think this is beautiful Maurice and conveys such lovely feelings about your Mum as well as showing us what a wonderful woman she was. It also shows what a special person you are to write so eloquently and thoughtfully about this special lady. My birthday is in August, I love that month because it’s the time when summer is at its richest and harvest is about to begin. I wish you a very happy 25th year of marriage and many more happy years ahead.

  7. I’m so glad I followed you from John Malone’s blog, so I had the chance to read your lovely poem about your mother. Our mothers are so important, aren’t they?

  8. You’re a good son … Mudder would be proud. Your last line perhaps points, most directly, at a mother’s most difficult task … to make a house a home for her family. Very tough work, and from what I read in and between the lines, Mudder’s was made all the more difficult. D

    • Absolutely right. Dublin: big city and mom loved the culture there. Red Island: as isolated and rural as it got. But still she persevered–and became all the better for it!

  9. Jane Fritz says:

    Simply beautiful. You have done your mother proud!

  10. marsocmom says:

    That is so wonderful Maurice! Thank you for sharing it.

  11. Camilla says:

    Maurice, you never cease to amaze me with your talents….what a beautiful poem and with such meaning and devotion. My reaction as I read this her in my office was bouche-bée*

    *The French expression bouche bée indicates tremendous surprise, either good or bad: the person is so astonished that s/he is standing open-mouthed and staring at the source of the surprise. Bouche bée is usually used with the verbs être or rester, and has numerous possible translations:
    to be flabbergasted
    to be lost in wonder
    to be stunned
    to drop one’s jaw
    to stand gaping

  12. SJ O'Hart says:

    Oh, my goodness. What a beautiful post, and a gorgeous poem! Beautiful work, Maurice.

  13. Jane Fritz says:

    Hi Maurice. I’ve nominated you for The Super Sweet Blogging Award. If you choose to accept, please go here:

    • Hey there Jane. Thanks for this! I’d also note that it’s always a pleasure visiting your blog; always something there that’s interesting and, just as importantly, written in a way that reflects your own positive spirit!

  14. scribblechic says:

    Such an intimate love letter to your mother. “.. your music’s in my bones” Beautiful.

  15. Sorry I missed this beautiful post you had shared on Mother’s Day. I also sat and remembered my mom who died far too young in 1971. Mother’s love never fades – I agree.

  16. A heart felt tribute to your Mum and beautifully expressed, My father loved Ave Maria and every time I hear it now I am reminded of his love for us. I loved La Boheme I managed to see it performed in London and fell in love with the sorrowful melodies it is still one of my favourites. We are all built on memories and yours are touching thank you for sharing.

  17. Mary Duffy says:

    Good to revisit this again and remember – it was nice that day of your wedding – all three of us together.

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