The Sybil

Alice O. Howell,  at whose feet I sit in this picture, whose student I will always be and whom I love without reservation, is 91 now. Cosy, kind or crotchety, she is being tended by family and friends in her home, Rosecroft, nestled in the Berkshires. It’s quite a winter they’ve had there, so I’m happy to pass on news from a friend who visited her last weekend. He writes that she is very much her old self and suggests reading her poem “The Sybil.” Thanks so much, Greg.

(I wish I could get the placement of the lines right but I don’t know how to do it here. Click on the title to see the poem properly.)

THE SYBIL

“Old Granny Larkin had age by the toe

and hollering for help.

She just shriveled up a little

every year with them boiling-downs.

Her watery grey eyes

went on and off like a light

depending on the kind o’ day it was

for her.

Her white hair kind of exploded

off her head – like it had a life all its own

and I mind, as a little girl

watching it raise up and move

this way and that

with her thinkin’.

She was so old not a body ’round

knew about her young times.

She must o’ been born old

like a owl.

 

Click here to continue The Sybil.

 

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