Ina D. Coolbrith

Rookie (1842-1928 / Nauvoo, Illinois (Josephine D. Smith))

Ina D. Coolbrith
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Born Josephine Donna Smith, oldest daughter of Don Carlos and Agnes Coolbrith Smith, in Nauvoo, Illinois, March 10,1842, she entered California through the Beckwourth Pass in a covered wagon train in 1852. Her first poems were published in the Los Angeles Times in 1854. After a brief and tragic marriage at 17, and the death of her child, she moved to San Francisco in 1862 adopting a new name Ina and her mother’s maiden surname Coolbrith. Arriving with a reputation as a poet, she soon began writing for The Golden Era and The Californian, forming intimate friendships with Bret Harte, Charles Warren Stoddard, and Mark Twain, among others. She worked as a journalist on the Overland Monthly. ... more »

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Best Poem of Ina D. Coolbrith

When The Grass Shall Cover Me

When the grass shall cover me,
Head to foot where I am lying;
When not any wind that blows,
Summer-blooms nor winter snows,
Shall awake me to your sighing:
Close above me as you pass,
You will say: 'How kind she was, '
You will say: 'How true she was, '
When the grass grows over me.

When the grass shall cover me,
Holden close to earth's warm bosom;
While I laugh, or weep, or sing,
Nevermore, for anything:
You will find in blade and blossom,
Sweet small voices, odorous,
Tender pleaders in my cause,
That shall speak me as I was ...

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