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Conversation with Daphne Harold-Warner

Conversation with Daphne Harold-Warner

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My visit today with Daphne Harold-Warner was a warm embrace that only she could give. With that warm melodious voice and twinkling knowing gleam in her eyes, we sat down to chat and catch up about the lost years and her wonderful book, “Flower of Grass”.{{more}}

As the evening unfolded, our conversation was filled with laughter and many recollections surged forward, a few that were forgotten and happy, and some that made us twinge in sadness. But as we journeyed through, I saw that Daphne has the innate knack for bringing our life experiences via her poetic flow.

At one point, she proudly says, “I’m every woman” and I have to agree. She is recognizable to any one who meets her, hears her speak her truth and reads her verses. One that aptly captures her wonderful observances and relationships through this life is called: “Witnesses”. It takes us on a journey from the warm and carefree childhood in the St.Vincent, of playing with dolls and making pretty dresses for the paper ones to giggling with her girlfriends at the “Y” talking about the cute guys all while drinking coke floats and eating cracker jacks. She then unfolds how they dispersed to different corners of the world becoming engrossed and reshaped in their new lives and challenges – yet never forgetting the warm friendships and hilarious secrets that formed them to begin with.

I asked her who did she write this book for, and she said that she wrote it primarily for women. She said she wants to empower women to strive to be the best they can be. She encourages them to get an education, read, surround themselves and listen to educated people, and to always give back, even though they may think they have nothing to give. This is also evident in her poems: “Forgive”, or the selflessness of “Ten Peanuts” (a personal favorite), the poignant one called, “My Friend” where she befriends a lonely widower to be and the familiarity of, “My Familiar Road”.

Though Daphne is a Vincentian to the end, her love affair with her adopted country America started when her Aunt came to St. Vincent just in time to celebrate her fourth birthday, on no date other than the 4th of July. She describes her love of her birthplace in the poem, “St.Vincent and the Grenadines” and then her adopted country “America”. With all of the wondrous stories she heard, she learned she shared America’s Birthday/Independence… fireworks and celebrations, well this was the place that she had to be. As her young wish was whispered into the atmosphere, Daphne’s pursuit of making America her new home took root. One, she says, she has never regretted.

She would be quick to tell you it has not all been easy. Many sacrifices and struggles have paved the way to forming the wisdom that is evident when you meet her. The rapport between her children is truly a gift to witness. Her daughter Laurel was there as I visited, and I was not only struck by her outer beauty, but by the grace, wisdom and evident love she has for her mother. One could tell that she very much admired her mother and this also stands true for her son Christian as well. Their journey which also includes her husband Mr. Warner is that of “togetherness”. Walking in faith and being truthful to their reality.

She read me many of the poems herself I found myself treasuring her voice and the expressions as she took them line by line. She has a gift, not only with words but of letting you into that captured moment. She said she fell in love with Keats, Byron and Shelley as a young girl; she was always surrounded by books. She recollected that some of her earlier writings are now lost, but she remembers as a teenager writing a poem which began; “I sit within my prison, my oh so small prison”. She said that writing helps bring things into focus for her, be it good or bad. She said that each decade brings more and more clarity, love and understanding and she embraces that.

I then asked her upon reflecting on her life, is there anything that she would tell young women NOT to do. She stopped and thought, then wisely said, “No”. She said there is a lot to learn from your own mistakes. However, one should quickly recognize that repeating the same mistake is not the healthy either.

Daphne went on to say that she has learned the gift of patience and humanity; especially with children. She said we can’t be impatient with children, which she likened to a knotted ball of twine which just needs patience to straighten out. One can tell about her very evident love affair with her children Christian and Laurel through the poems she wrote about them called: “Dear Son” and “Dear Daughter” a dedication of love and commitment that they can always treasure.

So as the evening came to a close, after much laughter, stories and pleasant memories. I ask her if she was happy and she simply replied, “Yes, I am filled with Joy”. It was evident to see and I was really so happy to have had this opportunity to have visited with Daphne. “Flower of Grass” can be bought on Amazon and in my opinion a vivid snapshot of a time gone and a reality of where it brings us.

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