POETRY AND PLUMBING
Patrick J. Pendergast of Norwood
Proves That They Can Exist Together— Worked 40 Years in a Foundry, Now a Gardener— His Book Reaches Seventh Edition
A life spent working in an iron foundry, spraying trees, raising prize vegetables and painting houses doesn’t sound like the best of preparations for poetry writing, but Patrick J. Pendergast of Railroad av, Norwood, thinks the combination a good one. And Mr Pendergast has reasons for his belief, as the fifth, sixth and seventh editions of his “Selected Gems,” issued in May, are now in the bindery.
Mr Pendergast’s subjects range from religion and war to politics and plumbing. He has a letter of thanks from Cardinal O’Connell to whom he sent the first copy of his book. One of the poems is a tribute to the Cardinal. He has also written many poems on nature.
Mr Pendergast was born in County Waterford, Ire, in 1850, but his parents moved to Boston when he was only 6 months old. He lived in South Boston for three years and then went to Norwood, where he has lived ever since.
After leaving school he entered an iron foundry and remained there for nearly 40 years. He was always fond of outdoor work, and after leaving the foundry took up gardening, care of trees, house painting and other kinds of work which kept him outdoors.
Mr Pendergast has been a widower for 27 years. He has two sons living. James E. Pendergast, town clerk and accountant, and Richard Pendergast, the youngest, who is unmarried and lives with his father.
Asked how he happened to write poetry, Mr Pendergast said that “it just came.”
”I always liked poetry.” he said, “but the first real poem I ever wrote was when my mother died three and a half years ago. She was killed crossing a railroad track and that night sat down and wrote a poem. I couldn’t help it. The thing simply seemed to come from inside.
“I didn’t do any more until the day before Christmas that same year. Then I noticed a beautiful old apple tree that i was just weighted down with blossoms in the Spring, but then seemed to be all withering away. Somehow it seemed to me that that tree was like life, all fresh and beautiful once and finally sort of fading out. So I wrote about that. I’ve been doing it ever since.
”I usually write in the early morning before going to work; but I’m always seeing things to Write about and if l have a pencil and a bit of paper I put it down. I’ve written poems about life in a foundry and I once wrote about a plumber. Just how I’m writing war poems.”
In his spare time, when he isn’t writing poetry. Mr Pendergast is reading it. He says that Walter Scott is his favorite, though Longfellow? is a close second. Aside from poetry, his hobby is gardening, and he has won several prizes. He has two small greenhouses of his own, where he raises Winter vegetables.
‘‘Yes, sir.” said Mr Pendergast emphatically, “poetry is the greatest thing in the world.” Which is the opinion of all real poets.