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Picture of AuthorMildred Raynolds Trivers

Hoosier Connection: Mildred retired to Muncie, Indiana, where she founded the 401 Poetry Club. She has published several collections of her poetry with the Barnwood Press, a publishing company created by Tom Koontz, a professor at Ball State University.

Works Discussed: For My Remembering

Mildred Raynolds was born on the Fourth of July of 1912 in Columbus, Ohio. After completing her undergraduate work at Hollins College, she went on to receive her graduate degree from Radcliff. She also studied abroad in pre-World War II Germany. Mildred married a statesman by the name of Howard Trivers. The two traveled the world together and visited several foreign countries before settling down to have children.

The couple had a total of seven children and remained married for fifty-three years when Howard passed away. Trivers continues to write and has made several videos entitled “The Way of the Poet.” Trivers also started the event known as the Humpback Barn Festival in Muncie, Indiana. This is a celebration of poetry and visual art in which visual and literary artists combine their efforts.

Many of Trivers’ poems have to do with her love for family and her faith in God. Her poetry suggests that she is a devout woman with many blessings who was very appreciative of all the wonders about her, including nature. Trivers has lived in several areas of the world with very different climates, but the majority of her later works on nature appear to be about the natural features of Indiana. One of the common subjects of her poetry is the radical seasons experienced by this area.

In the collection For My Remembering, Trivers discusses the landscape surrounding her home in Muncie and also uses a great deal of imagery when describing people and events. One of the poems that best represents the changing of seasons in Indiana is her poem “Spring.” In it, she states that winter seems to have a hard time leaving and spring does not seem to be sure when it is time to take over.

Harsh is our Hoosier spring and hesitant to commit itself
to the business of green and growing things,
knowing how hard the work between seed time and harvest.
Winter keeps coming back for one last look
at crocus under snow, at frozen daffodil.
All April the willow holds to its yellow, the maple
is glum, and hope in feathers twitters hopefully.

It is well for the Hoosier soul that spring comes slowly-
surge disturbs us; push and thrust are alien to a nature
grounded on limestone and rooted in clay.
We take our time, keep to the right lane, avoid extremes.
Come, spring, come! Our hearts are homesick for green;
come with laughter, come with rain, come with moderation.(4)

Not only does she address how difficult it is for the season to truly begin, she also compares this event with a trait shared by many of the people who experience it.

Here Trivers shows how the people of Indiana are much like the seasons. Taking their time and avoiding disturbance is a way of life in the country.

Nature appears to be awe inspiring to Trivers. She has written many poems on it such as “From the Balcony” and “Early Autumn”. A great example of the awe and joy brought on by this is her poem “The Earth Blossoms in Beauty.” In it, she describes several images brought on by the spring such as green grass, tulips, pear trees, robins and woodpeckers. All appears to be busy and colorful and musical as well. She describes how each action of each bird and creature in the setting makes beautiful sounds which all come together to create a song.

Joyous hymn of creation, anthem of praise to the living!
And the purple perfume of the hyacinth, the heavy scent of
the lilac, green smell of growing and
brown smell of loam tilled for the sowing

Incense on the altar of God as the earth blossoms in Beauty.(3)

Another common theme among her poems is faith. She seems to note that not only does nature create great visual beauty and melody, but it does this as a way to give thanks and praise to God.

Trivers writes on all the seasons and each one is equally appreciated and enjoyable. The fall season is described in her poem “Early Autumn.” Here, she describes the symptoms of fall as magical and inspirational. She seems to be awe struck by the experience although she has seen it many times before.

What the dew can do on a moist and misty
morning, when apples are reddening in early
autumn and trees are beginning to color,
can only be seen as the magic of fairy
fingers, or tiny pixie hands (9).  

Trivers does not take nature for granted. She understands that it is a gift. She also understands that not everyone uses these gifts wisely. Her poem, “Spring Rain”, discusses the state of our land’s environment and of how forgiving the land will be in continuing to support us.

I hear earth mother crying
I hear her weeping gently for her wayward children
I hear her tears softening our hard hearts
Wiping out the remembrance of our cruelties
Cleansing us of our iniquities

She will rain blessings upon us
She will restore us to herself
She will make us grow

She will forgive, the earth mother

We will turn toward her a glad face.(6)

Mildred Trivers sees everything form spider webs to grass beautiful. She has an appreciation for the nature and the art that it can produce, even from something as simple as a sunny day. Her love of nature and way with words has made her something of a celebrity in Muncie, and she has certainly made her mark as a poet of Indiana.



Trivers, Mildred Raynolds. Circled Round With Awe. Indianapolis: GuildCraft. 1993.

Trivers, Mildred Raynolds. For My Remembering. Pittsburgh: Dorrance Publishing Company. 1997.


Mildred Trivers photo. Archives & Special Collections. PSC 248, Humpback Barn Photo Collection. Ball State University. Muncie, IN.


Humpback Barn Festival

A Quilt Inspired by a Poem by Mildred Trivers