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Jewels of motherhood celebrated in poetry

A poem about motherhood is just one of several poems 85-year-old Mrs Martha Snow has written and illustrated, and compiled into a book for her family.
Mrs Snow with the poems dedicated to her grandchildren.
Mrs Snow with the poems dedicated to her grandchildren.

Recently, Mrs Snow shared her poem ‘Jewels’ about motherhood with staff at Arcare Endeavour.  

The motherhood poem was inspired by the birth of one grandchild who had Asperger’s. “We’d gone over to New Zealand to help look after him for three months,” says Mrs Snow.

She also wrote the ‘crocodile story’ for this grandchild, and this led to her writing a dedicated poem for the others. “The poems were written just as a little something to amuse the children with,” says Mrs Snow. “When we put the book together, there is a deliberate mistake on every page the children have to find.”

What is more remarkable, Mrs Snow was losing her sight when she was illustrating the book due to corneal dystrophy, a hereditary condition which affected both of her eyes. She used a special magnifying machine for vision impairment which helped her see the finer details of her illustrations.

“The condition comes in various degrees; I could still see outlines and shadows,” she says. “I realised I was in real trouble in 2006.” Although one eye ruptured with the condition, Ms Snow has since had a retinal transplant in the other eye, and this enabled her to see her 94-year-old husband just two weeks before he died.

Originally from Lewis in England, Mrs Snow moved to Australia with her husband and four children in 1957. The family initially lived in a hostel for migrants, but later moved to Taralaga and then Walcha. In Walcha, Ms Snow responded to a request to house teachers which resulted in three teachers boarding with the family. “I had the teachers marking books on one side of the table and the kids doing their homework on the other,” she says.

The couple eventually moved to Brisbane to be closer to family when their health started to fail, and Mrs Snow moved into Arcare Endeavour around 18 months ago.

At last count, Mrs Snow has around 14 grand-children, over 20 great grand-children and 4 great, great grand-children, and she is still in regular contact with her brother in UK via Skype.

Mrs Snow says she’s is no longer writing as she is focusing on her craft work - she loves doing her tapestries and she also knits for organisations such as homeless and military organisations.

She spent Mother’s Day sorting out belongings in her former home. “We had a family picnic though – one grandson is a chef and cooked some beautiful food,” she adds.


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