Let Me

Cross-stitch of Let Me Grow Lovely

Well. There’s not much left to be said, is there?

Well, maybe one or two things. Certainly to acknowledge my source: Elfrieda Schroeder’s blog, In Transit, via Wayne Holst’s Colleague’s List. And certainly to acknowledge the actual source: Karle Wilson Baker, who epitomizes Arkansas (where she was born in 1878) and Texas (which she loved and where she lived), in the popular imagination.


Well, no, likely not. No stetson, no cowboy boots, no ranch, no oil rigs. Instead, she lived a life of letters: teaching and writing novels and poetry. And not cowboy poetry.

You are a poet, sycamore,
A minor poet.
You are not much good in a practical world;
You shed your ragged leaves early, and clutter up the landscape.
But you are lovely on winter evenings
Against the afterglow–
Bare and pale and a little disdainful,
But yourself.
– “Temperate Tribute”, published in Burning Bush

It *is* a practical world, and sometimes I wonder whether I’m much good in it, or whether I just clutter up the landscape. But it seems that even in Texas, Karle, like the sycamore, was herself. She thrived as herself.

So let me be myself, too. And since the growing old seems inevitable, let me share Karle’s prayer.

Let me grow lovely, growing old.


This entry was posted in Appreciating Deeply, Feeling Clearly, Quotations and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Let Me

  1. Lorna says:

    And you, Isabel, are yourself and our world is better for it. Thanks for this introduction to a woman I hadn’t heard of.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Lorna – Many thanks. Likewise. As for the poet, I laughed to read she was christened “Karl” and later added the “e” to eliminate gender confusion. If asked, I might have suggested adding an “a” instead.

  2. Barbara Carlson says:

    It is one of the surprising and comforting realizations as one ages how mellow one become — “past caring” about previously fugitive things and struggles and worries and regrets as in agedness one can float within the nuance, can attend moments, knowing to savour them.

    Living on the 22nd floor is always a gift, and I’ve seen thousands of skies, but last night I saw a lovely one stretched out before me. My first reaction was: this sky is a painting… then saw it as a real sky, the clouds arranged in a satisfying way, if a little artificially — as if an artist had composed it. Its perfect variety laid out on this one night will never come again — just that way — and I was there to see it.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – Mom noticed something very similar – an appreciation of the small joys (if that’s not a contradiction in terms). Anyway, she remarked more than once on the increasing joy she took in small things as she got older.

  3. Tom Watson says:

    When I am old, I shall wear purple suspenders with an orange shirt, and pink bow-tie, and olive green trousers. When you spot somebody dressed like that you will know it’s me.

    Have to tell you, also, that if Janice were still alive she would say, “You’re not going out like that!”
    But I’m not old yet so can’t do it anyway.

  4. Tom’s promised get-up will look like some sunsets I’ve seen! The late afternoon in November we set out for Toronto to my father’s funeral displayed such a sunset, but it had the shapes of a large, many-gabled, romantic “cottage” set behind a stonewalled garden and very much in the style of William Kincaide. My sister voiced my thoughts as we drove towards this pink, purple, and gold phenomenon, “Doesn’t it look as though Dad had a hand in designing that sunset?” One wonders . . . .

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Now there’s a heartwarming story. Amazing that you both could feel that way in the extremis of your loss – I can only get there a few years after the fact.

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