Ode to Stories, and the Comfort They Bring
by Mary O. Fumento
“Now, I believe it is the easiest thing in the world to tell a story – and the hardest thing to be a fine storyteller.” – Ruth Sawyer
For this lovely holiday season, I would like to tell a story.
Storytelling ranges from simply relating of day-to-day events to a friend to reciting of ancient tales, singing songs, and writing stories, plays and poems. Regardless of the vehicle used, the purpose of stories is to somehow touch our deepest beliefs and emotions.
The knack of storytelling is creating the personal story to which people can relate and finding plausible people hidden amid the literary construction. We care about stories, however they are told, because something very specific vocalizes inside of us. It is less what we read or hear than what we discover through the story. We recognize something, and we grasp it tightly.
I write poetry, and I enjoy crafting stories in this way. It has been more than a quarter of a century since I started writing poetry. I have written many poems during these years, but there is one particularly suited for this time of year. The poem tells of tragedy but it is more about individual and universal strength than about sadness. It is about courage and the will and need to move forward despite hardship.
My great-grandmother, Anna Ramsay, disappeared on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1916. She left her house to go shopping and never returned to her husband and three young daughters. Her body was found a month later.
I knew her daughters well, and I often wondered what thoughts they had the night their mother vanished. First, there was the hopeful anticipation on Christmas Eve, and then painful disappointment and lifelong sadness. Despite the loss, the daughters were courageous and strong throughout their lives. I admired these qualities, and they gave me the inspiration to write the poem below. Their story is worth retelling.