Marilyn K. Smith
2011 Missouri Senior Poet Laureate

Marilyn K. Smith, 66, of Fair Grove, lists her occupation as “none.” Oh, yeah? She has been a columnist for the Buffalo Reflex Newspaper for the past 23 years and contributes at least two articles per month to Ozarks’ Senior Living Newspaper,(whose parent publication, Senior Pages, launched the first Senior Poet Laureate Contest in 1993). Marilyn has published more than 2,000 articles, as well as winning many writing awards for prose and poetry. If she is not a professional writer, what is she? How about a saucy Sagittarian!


An old sawmill sits near my barn,
A remnant from the past.
Great Grandpa Walt ran it for years
My destiny was cast.

With rusting parts, and rotting belts,
It sits there all alone.
It’s nearly covered with tall weeds. . .
I think I heard it moan.

A man asked me, “Is it for sale?”
I told him I guess so.
“Would it still run ... what do you think?”
We’ll sure give it a go.

I told him to come back next week,
I’d see what I could do,
I’d clean it off, and oil the gears,
It will be good as new.

A strange thing happened as I worked,
To clear the weeds away,
It was as if it breathed a sigh,
And “Thanks!” I heard it say.

I lubricated every part,
Again, I heard a sigh,
I’d even swear I saw a smile,
It nearly made me cry.

I filled the boiler and the tanks,
The wood was stacked nearby,
I’ll fire it up and see what blows,
At least I’ll really try.

I fired that sucker up that week,
It ran like a new top,
It ran so well, I truly rued
The time I had to stop.

The man came back, with cash in hand,
He said, “How did it run?”
It ran so well, I was surprised,
And goodness, it was fun!

“Then Sir, I guess I’ll load it on
The truck I brought with me.”
No, just a minute, wait a sec,
I’ve changed my mind, you see.

I got each part I needed for
My sawmill to cut wood,
Then cut some lumber for a shed,
Like Grandpa knew I could.

Marilyn K. Smith