Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Poem, A Poet, and Gold Dust

view from my porch room
on a beautiful October day 
              by Karle Wilson Baker

Some days my thoughts are just cocoons--
      all cold, and 
            dull, and blind,
They hang from dripping branches in the gray 
      woods of my 

And other days they drift and shine--
       such free and flying 
I find the gold-dust in my hair, 
       left by their brushing 

I found this poem in an old book on the shelf, One Thousand Beautiful Things (copyright 1947 :-) and thought of my friend Peggy who often drops in and encourages me with her comments. But when I posted about the hummingbird, Peggy answered with "I feel a lot like a hummingbird--beating frantically just to stay in place." When I posted about the praying mantis and asked what insect readers might draw parallels from, Peggy responded, "The worker bee--buzzing around, working like crazy, never having time to smell the roses."

And I felt the frustration behind the words. Feel it in my own writing world sometimes. Know it's in many lives. So, I post this poem to say, let's spread some gold dust around! Here's a sprinkle for you, Peggy, with hopes that the upcoming week slows down a bit so you can do some of those things you really want to do--filled with thoughts that are free and flying.

Oh, and by-the-way, who's Karle Wilson Baker anyway? I wondered about that, too, since I had never heard of her before. That's right--Karle Wilson Baker was a woman as I found out in my research. She lived from 1878-1960 and became well-known in the early 20th century as a noted poet from Nacogdoches, Texas. I immediately felt an affinity to Karle, the poet with the unusual name (for a girl) and also for the fact that I once enrolled in a novel-writing course and my instructor was from...Nacogdoches, Texas!

"Poetry came naturally to her," according to Sarah Jackson in an on-line biography (here). Her poetic styles included the lyric, sonnet, narrative, and ode. Jackson also writes that she had "a strong sense of imagery and of figures of speech, especially metaphor."

In Karle's own words in a diary entry dated 1917, she wrote: "Writing my poems is seldom more laborious than skimming the cream from my thoughts. It just needs time and quiet to rise."

Oooh, if it were only that easy, right? Well, although we might envy such a talented poet, Jackson reports that while poetry came easy, Karle's attempts at fiction did not. So she had her frustrating writing days, too!

Maybe those were the days when a girl named Karle wished that gold-dust fell from the sky, too?

Are you having cold, cocoon-thought days lately, or flying-thought days when you wear gold-dust in your hair?


  1. That poem is amazing, and so is your picture. It is the perfect complement to the poem. I am finally, today, feeling less overwhelmed than I have been for the past couple of months. I was able to take several completed projects off my plate and replace them with ones that had been waiting on the sidelines. I have next week to work on my writing again, and the following week, we're off to Arizona for a couple of weeks.

  2. I love that picture too! And the poem. For some reason, I was pronouncing her name like "Karly" in my head, so I thought she was a girl all along. :) I think it's so fantastic that you looked her up to find out more about her. :)

  3. What a perfect poem. I haven't encountered that one before. It's my writing, exactly.

  4. Thanks, Cathy--and happy to hear you've made such progress on your projects. Good luck on the upcoming ones. And enjoy your time in Arizona. Any particular destination or just flying around the state?

    Kimberly, Glad you like the poem and photo. I should have explained Karle's name--they said she was named "Karl" and she added the -e to make it more feminine :-)

    Barbara, I know what you mean about the poem. Good days and bad days, right?

  5. Love the poem, and thanks for the gold sprinkles - sure can use some. :-)

    But I have to say I was surprised that the cocoon was "cold and dull and blind." I never thought of cocoons that way. I was expecting her to say she was snuggled up in a nice warm place, incubating her ideas. Guess that's why I'm not a poet!

  6. Peggy, your concept of the cocoon being more an incubating place for ideas is an interesting take on the poem--you might have more of a poet's mind than you realize! Thanks for sharing. And enjoy the gold dust :-) Sending you a sprinkle more...

  7. It's always a treat to visit you here! I love your porch view, and the poem too. It's been a mix of both kinds of days lately - is that possible? Looking for things to level out soon. But either way, there's always something to be gained in the process.

    Have a wonderful weekend! :)