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Liberty Park

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 17, 2013

Liberty Park

By Rose Thomas Graham

The old park was not like it is today;
Around its edges it was woody-wild,
With trees so thick that only little folks
Could wind between. The trunks were not so big,
But some would hide us, if we pulled our skirts
In tight, and tried to stretch as tall as they.
We played at hide-and-seek, and peek-a-boo;
Then when our tired legs would run no more,
We’d hunt a little clearing in the shade
To eat the lunch that mother had prepared,
And listen to the birds, for it was spring.

The old park was not like it is today:
The driveway was a circle then, as now
But not so wide, and it was deep in dust;
Or if, by chance, it rained, the mud would fly.
Old Mat, the horse, would jog at steady pace,
He knew the way, and at the middle road
Would turn in where the horses liked to drink.
We did not like, but patiently we’d wait
Till he had had enough; then we would coax
To go around again. ‘Twas summer now.

The old park was not like it is today:
Dead twigs and brush are raked up clean and burned:
The lawn kept newly mowed. In spraying hose
The rain-bow colors dance in water drops.
‘Tis very beautiful, but in my youth
We’d wade through leaves knee-high and love the swish
And crackle as we walked, or ran, or jumped,
Or tumbled down, then up to try again.
The air, less balmy now, the day-time short,
So home we’d race to kitchen fire and warmth:
With arms we’d hug ourselves, for it was fall.

The old park was not like it is today:
The few remaining trees of other years,
Are, even now, brought low for newer green.
Do patterned flower beds have more appeal
Than did my crooked paths and unkempt trees?
Do children, with their modern slides, feel joy
Beyond my own in dried up leaves? Perhaps.
But often when I’m dreaming quite alone
And visions of the past come back to me –
With all the simple freedom that it brought,
I like God’s park just as it used to be.

(1941)



4 Comments »

  1. For Mina!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 17, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

  2. I am so honored. I have such dear memories of Tracy Aviary and the old original carousel.

    Comment by Mina — May 17, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

  3. My father grew up near Liberty Park. I enjoyed this.

    Comment by queuno — May 19, 2013 @ 8:37 am

  4. We are moving (sadly) from the Avenues, to 700 South, just two blocks north of Liberty Park. In a way, this poem made me feel a bit less sad about leaving the Avenues. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Jonathan — May 21, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

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