Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Betty Sue Flowers: In celebration of her contributions in Austin

This is a poem that I quoted from in a celebration of Dr. Betty Sue Flowers help with Texas Forums as he left the position of Director of the LBJ Library. It's one of her poems and describes her very well.

The Far Fence

I rode to the fence today. It's holding fine.
No wool clumps in the wire. Sheep never stray
this far, but it's a comfort to see the line
of the fence and know once here, they'd stay.

It's a comfort to go so far and stop, to see
the near side of the fence and call it home,
to say: my grass, my path, my tall oak tree,
that's you and yours out there, here's mine, here's me.

And this is all a lie. It's what you think, it keeps
you safe from me. But let me tell you that
a fence is mostly gap, and deer will leap
right over it. Nothing free will stop

for comfort's sake. My grass, my path, my tall oak tree –
not so. The west wind blows the grass seed through,
and quick wild birds nest in the oak and fly free,
and my path goes through the fence. But you-

who look for comfort in fences and fear to lose
what you call yours-watch out for me. I'm one
who'll pass your way with wire cutters and who'll use
them, make taut lines dangle from their posts, undone.
Then anyone can ride through, move on.

Betty Sue Flowers, Extending the Shade, Plainview Press, 1990

Whether she ends up in Washington or New York, she's going to have to cut through a lot of fences.

I will miss her presence in Austin.

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