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.)
“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
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.