Poetry of Kansas

The Schoolmistress

Before she married and settled down
In the tiny, huddled western town
She charted words in loops and turns,
Puzzling graphs a schoolchild learns,
And letter-sequences to spell
She thought she knew words very well.
But-words she classed as long or short,
Hard or easy, have new import,
Now as she lives them, and their relation
Learns from the wind's reiteration:
Intricate, polysyllabic "fear";
"Quiet" screaming into her ear;
"Loneliness," snaky under the gate,
And a huge, heavy word called "hate

May Williams Ward
page 16
(Atlanta: The Bozart Press. 1929)

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September 5, 2004 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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