Missouri has some claim to artistic excellence. In the realm of fiction, we can claim Samuel “Mark Twain” Clemens, and Hemingway honed his craft at the Kansas City Star. In the visual arts, we have one of my favorites, Thomas Hart Benton, as well as George Caleb Bingham and many others. Musically speaking, Missouri nurtured world-changers, from Scott Joplin to Chuck Berry and from Count Basie to Nelly.
Of all the fields, though, poetry is probably the strongest. While he may have preferred to think of himself as English, T. S. Eliot was born and raised in St. Louis, as was the under-appreciated Sara Teasdale. Former poet laureate Howard Nemerov spent his best years in Missouri.
With so much great art, why is it that one of our idiot Republican legislators is proposing to have “Missouri, Just Waitin’ For Me” named our state poem?
It’s bad enough that the Republicans are taking medical care away from poor residents, and closing the courts to injured people. It’s bad enough that they are rolling back our educational standards and serving as lapdogs to the insurance industry.
Those things are to be expected, after all – that’s just what Republicans do. But, normally, they don’t even claim to read or care about poetry. Why, then, must they submit Missouri to the indignity of claiming this to be our official state poem?
Missouri – Just Waitin’ For Me
As I travel the highways and byways, and as I tramp the hills and wade the streams in Missouri, I sometimes stop and look around me and I think, “All of this, just waitin’ for me.”
As I hunt and fish in Missouri, I remember all of the ambitious people who have restored, cultivated, and preserved all the wildlife, and it is just waitin’ for me.
Each change of season brings something anew in the fall, as in October when the forest leaves change to a blaze of a thousand colors, I say, “All of this, just waitin’ for me.”
I should hope when we, the older generation, turn the reins of Missouri over to a younger generation, that they too will work, educate, cultivate and preserve Missouri so their children can also, with pride and deep admiration, say, “All of this, just waitin’ for me.”
When I have come to my journey’s end and have climbed the golden stairs and am standing face to face with the Master, may I be heard to proudly say, “Master, in this vast place called heaven, don’t You have just a little place like Missouri, just waitin’ for me?”