by David Adkins
(Version 2. 28/02/2010)
Margaret Ann Griffiths
Margaret Ann Griffiths, known to her friends as Maz and Grasshopper, was born in Paddington, London, on the 23rd May 1947. She was the only child of William Paul Griffiths from Bedwellty, Wales, and Marjorie Mary Griffiths – née Westall – from London. The family initially lived in Marylebone before moving to Maida Vale, where her father worked for what was then known as the GPO. In the mid-sixties, Margaret went up to Cardiff University, reading archaeology, but the periods of depression that dogged her for all of her life meant that she could not complete her degree. She returned to her parents in Maida Vale and worked in a betting shop.
In the 70s, the family moved to Slough, and in 1978 to Bracknell. During this period or shortly before, her father had a stroke and was in a wheelchair. Margaret worked as a doctor’s receptionist and with her mother entered numerous slogan competitions, winning many prizes of considerable value.
In the early 80s, the family moved to Poole. Shortly after, her mother developed cancer. Margaret gave up her job to nurse her father and mother until they passed away ten years later, in March and November, 1993. Her mother, whom she loved deeply, sustained her through her difficult early life.
Margaret had, from an early age, a deep interest in classical literature, and owned many dictionaries, English history books (Henry VIII and the later Civil War were particular interests), philosophy, novels of Jane Austen and the Brontës, and many poetry books. She was a collector of tarot cards, but her main collecting interest was old objects of Japanese origin, especially war horses and antique Ichimatsu dolls.
She continued to win many more valuable prizes writing advertising slogans.
With her knowledge of computers gained from the earliest PCs, she set up an Internet business trading in small teddy bears and objects of Japanese origin, including Hina dolls and small wooden carved Kokeshi figures.
Margaret had a very high standing and much respect among her poetry friends. Her feisty, witty style and her independence were much appreciated. She was a prolific writer of sonnets and poems herself, of which many were partly or wholly autobiographical.
It is not known when her interest in poetry began or when she started writing poetry and sonnets, as she did not post them to poetry sites until after 2000. It is assumed that most of her work that she thought worthy has been posted or sent to her poetry colleagues, but there is a suspicion that some work was lost when her computer crashed.
She was also a moderator on Internet poetry sites and editor of The WORM, a poetry magazine.
Another major interest was her love of animals, birds, and small creatures – even an affection for insects. Many years ago, she kept doves in the back garden, but when that became too much for her, she had a room full of budgies, finches, and mynah birds, mostly flying free. Her other loves were her animals: first, Cress, a German shepherd, then Sine, a Doberman cross, and a cat called Jericho.
By the 90s, the depression she suffered from was compounded by her hiatus hernia – gastric reflux – took hold, the seriousness of which she kept to herself and apparently without treatment.
She continued working from home as a counselor, but her condition worsened. It is thought she was informed in January 2009 of the serious situation of her health.
Margaret was regarded as a loving, kind, gentle person who gave so much to others in return for so little. She was an unusual girl, a very private person, and an outstanding Internet poet. People were captivated by her. She took all of life’s knocks – the death of her mother, the early deaths of her beloved cat and dogs, and the depression and illnesses that followed her all of her life – but she found these things hard to bear and they wore her down. She refused all offers of help until near the end, but by then she was too weak to live.
Margaret died on the 13th or 14th of July. This is not the date on the death certificate, which is the date her death was certified – 12th August 2009. She was cremated at Poole Crematorium on 4th September. Her ashes remain in safe hands along with her mother’s, as a final decision on their final resting place has yet to be decided.
David Adkins, 28/02/10