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,
– “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.