OZARKS ARE FEMININE
The Rockies and the Andes, the Alps and Himalayas,
square-shouldering the sky-line, are masculine and crude;
many other highlands are chains of careless children,
male and female all together, often gentle, sometimes rude;
but the Ozarks and their seasons, are all of them feminine;
such contours and fruitfulness could never be construed
as anything but lady-like, and genuinely womanly,
pouring out her life and love, no matter what her mood.
SPRING in the Ozarks is a maiden at her wedding,
curves scarcely hidden in a pale green dress;
ribbons of looping roads and twisty-glist'ning rivers
wound about her everywhere, reveal her loveliness;
over all a lacy veil of tiny leaves and tree-buds,
swung by breezes wistful as a lover's caress;
innocent and eager, yet shy of her fulfillment,
sun-smiles and rain-tears her vagrant moods confess.
SUMMER in the Ozarks is a full-bosomed matron,
mature curves covered in rich and varied green;
of her bridal garments, nothing but the ribbons;
at her skirts a dozen crops romp and grow and preen.
She leads the young fruit harvest along by either hand,
moving in cloud-shadows, deliberate, serene ...
Yet her passion is electric, and her anger a tornado;
for she is life as well as love, and knows what they mean.
AUTUMN in the Ozarks is a flock of lovely ladies,
smiling, skipping, scurrying to the county fair,
in dresses of vermilion, chartreuse, magenta, orange,
with sky-colored caps on their gold-corn-tassel hair;
showing off their children, fruits and grain and cattle;
laughing, "Show us something finer if you dare!"
When the good is gathered, the troupe triumphant prances,
swirling, spinning, whirling in a dance without a care.
WINTER in the Ozarks is an aging country woman,
thinly clad in brown and gray and hill-distant blue.
Penitent, but not a nun like Drought, her old-maid sister,
she mediates, in an empty oak and maple pew.
Her knotted hands are folded, and her furrowed brow is calm.
Her harvest is all gathered, and she has no more to do.
Snow-flurries in her hair no longer can a-fright her.
She rests awhile, confident, her life will rise anew.