From the Editor

Hope Tree, oil on canvas, by Nancie Warner

Let No Charitable Hope . . .

Dear Readers,


In these tumultuous and heart-rending times of intolerance, political discord, and “everywhere wars,” I started thinking of the U.S. poet and novelist Elinor Wylie (1885-1928). Restless daughter of an unhappy upper-class family, she had the courage, in her strait-laced era and circumstances, to rebel (at times perhaps unwisely) and strike out to find her own best path through life. Despite—perhaps because of—the storms of social censure surrounding her, she found the strength to reach into herself and bring forth poetry that continues to speak to us. In the second stanza of her 1923 poem “Let No Charitable Hope,” she declares:
I was, being human, born alone;
I am, being woman, hard beset;
I live by squeezing from a stone
The little nourishment I get.
Like Wylie’s poem, this issue of Persimmon Tree is a testament to the resilience, creativity, and thoughtfulness of women in the face of circumstances that, at times, threaten to overwhelm. The Nonfiction Section presents eight provoking and inspiring essays based on the authors’ personal experiences. Compassion, humor, and fortitude characterize the six engrossing stories in our Fiction Section. Poetry Editor Cynthia Hogue eloquently salutes our Guest Poetry Editor Jody Stewart, who presents a vibrant selection of poems written by women in the Eastern United States. In a far-ranging interview with harpist Nancy Allen, Music Editor Gena Raps elicits telling information on Allen’s musical career and life experiences—and presents recordings of some of Allen’s stellar performances. And Art Editor Greta Berman explores, and provides stunning examples of, the unique “wearable” art of Jae Jarrell, whose work celebrates Black American and African life. 
Submissions for this issue’s Short Takes—lists of “Things I like/things I dislike”—nearly overwhelmed us. We received, and accepted, so many scintillating, engaging, and feisty lists that we are presenting them on a rotating basis. Visit Persimmon Tree once, you’ll find one selection; visit us a bit later, and you’ll find another.
We  also received many contributions to our current Persimmon Tree Forum discussion on coping with the multiple conflicts currently assailing our planet. From the Israeli-Hamas war and the Russian assault on Ukraine to the “civil” strife afflicting Sudan and Myanmar, Earth is beset by no-holds-barred conflicts that victimize tens of thousands of innocent noncombatants—and stir anguish, anger, and conflicting emotions in those of us not directly involved. My colleagues and I have been deeply moved by the thoughtful comments submitted to this Forum.
We are publishing the Winter 2023-24 issue of Persimmon Tree in the midst of a season of holidays; it will stay “live” on our website into Spring, the season of renewal. It is good to remember that, even in a world beset by wars, environmental challenges, and political upheavals, there are also and always courage, compassion, pockets of joy, and the capacity and will to love. As Elinor Wylie said, in the conclusion to her poem:
In masks outrageous and austere
The years go by in single file;
But none has merited my fear,
And none has quite escaped my smile.
I wish you all the very best as we move, with hope, into a new year.
Peggy Wagner



On Our Way, oil on canvas, by Nancie Warner



Nancie Warner has a long career in painting. The irony, dilemmas, and mysteries of living as a human are what interest her and motivate her work. She lives on a bayou in Freeport, Florida, and enjoys gardening.


  1. My thoughts and prayers go out to both Israelis and Palestinians from the first news of this. I always think back to a college geography class in which the professor was explaining that he lived in the Middle East for a few years when he served in the U S military. He was trying to understand how the people of the region grappled with the state of Israel set up in 1948 and the thousands of years that the Arab world lived in the region. He could see the difficulties from both sides.

    My thoughts keep going back to the “Troubles, ” as they were called in Northern Ireland, and how that lasted such a long time, accompanied by much bloodshed, as well. There was much compromise to be had and all is not perfect, but it is relatively calm. Both sides have found a way to coexist. I don’t have the answers to solving this very sad situation. Can we look to others for a solution? I don’t know.

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