At 88, Margery McManus Leach — a retired librarian, peace activist and writer — has a lot of stories and poems to share.
She will do just that Friday, sharing her latest works at a reading from her new book of poems "Captured by Long Icy Winter - Poems from Gloucester, Mass." at the Rose Baker Senior Center at 10:30 a.m.
Leach, who lives in Gloucester, came to Cape Ann after a life filled with twists and turns, from the death of her husband when she was 52 to traveling the globe on church-sponsored seminars.
She also wrote a memoir titled "On Being Born Again and Again: How Grief, Gratitude and Faith led to New Life."
Leach had first come to Gloucester in 1950 when her husband brought her to the area after their honeymoon.
"On the ride home, I said to him that if you had ever brought me here before we were married, you would never have known whether I married you for you or Gloucester," said Leach.
When she moved here permanently in 2007, she said, she was inspired by her surroundings, where she found beauty even in the bleakest season.
Many poems come from walks in Ravenswood, Stage Fort Park and her backyard on Western Avenue where the granite often sparkles in the moonlight, she said. Leach was enchanted by wintertime in Gloucester.
A mother of three, she was widowed at the age of 52 in 1976, a time when she lived in Greece, New York, near Rochester.
After her husband's death, she left in search of a "new life" and became involved in church-sponsored seminars in which she traveled the globe. She traveled to five Pacific islands, as well as Korea, Philippines, China, Japan, India, Pakistan and Nepal, to speak on various issues relating to peace.
"I knew there was another life out there and I wasn't going to find it in a library as much as I loved my job," said Leach.
In 1991, she moved to Phoenix where for she worked for nearly a year as a volunteer for the Valley Religious Task Force on Central America.
During the 15 years she lived in Phoenix, Leach wrote "Sanctuary in Phoenix! - A brief history of the Sanctuary Movement 1981-1998" about a movement in which she was involved. She also was involved in peace delegations to Guatemala, Cuba and several to Chiapas, Mexico. Injured by a fall while on a mission to Chiapas, she decided it was time to leave the Southwest for permanent residence near her family in early 2007.
She said the poems in her latest book touch upon all facets of life, good and bad, as well as bits of humor on the daily grind.
"But the overarching theme is in illuminating the splendor of God's creation along with the enduring love of human relationships," she said.
Copies of her latest book are available at the Bookstore in Gloucester and Toad Hall in Rockport.
Gail McCarthy may be contacted at 978-283-7000 x3445 or email@example.com.