From the Telephone
Florence Ripley Mastin
Out of the dark cup
Your voice broke like a flower.
It trembled, swaying on its taut stem.
The caress in its touch
Made my eyes close.
Side note from official bio, but not “side” to me: When Florence Josephine Mastin was in her 20s and already a published poet, she decided to replace her girlish middle name with “Ripley.
Florence Ripley Mastin was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Piermont, New York. She earned a BA from Barnard College and spent many years teaching English at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York. Mastin was a popular teacher, and her student Bernard Malamud described her classes as “unusually exciting.” Her collections of poetry include Green Leaves (1918), Cables of Cobweb (1935), Over the Tappan Zee (1962), and Flowers: A Birthday Book (1964). Her work was regularly published in journals such as Poetry and national periodicals such as the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune, among others. The New York State Commission on Historic Observances chose Mastin’s poem “Freedom’s Dream” for its Hudson-Champlain Celebration in 1959; the poem was also awarded the Freedom Foundation Medal. Mastin retired from teaching in 1952 and returned to Piermont, where she died in 1968.