Friday, October 12, 2007

Autumn Song

I revel in the fall.
I shout at the hills
Telling them it is here.
I want to dance
Through the hollers
Down the weary paths
Round the oak and hickory
Singin' the trees a lullaby
Tellin' them to rest, sleep
Wake up in the spring.
I want to reel and waltz
Round an' round
The mountain laurel
Down the deer trail
Twirlin' about
As the mornin' mist
And multicolored leaves
Swirl round my dancin' feet
As the clefts an' rises
Echo my call
Repeat my song
It is fall.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Simple spiderweb
Damp with dew
Glistens like diamonds
On a necklace
On a backdrop
Of midnight blue sky
Hanging just beneath
The sleepy moon.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Hidden Treasures

I walked into the coolness of the woods
To get away from the heat of noonday
Following a narrow path
Winding round oak, hickory and maple
Not goin' anywhere, just walkin'
Feelin' the quiet breeze on my face
Whisperin' for me to go on
Move in, follow the path.
I paused for a moment,
Looked up into the trees
Noticin' they were already
Droppin' leaves onto the floor
Of the autumn woods.
When I walked on,
Takin' my time, drinkin' in the stillness
Feastin' on the richness
Of the day.
I walked across a narrow footbridge
Stopped in the middle
Looked down the creek
That lay below the bridge.
Minnows ran back and fort
In glee, laughin' as they fled
Playin' an everlastin' game of tag.
Leaves had already begun to fall
Layin' quiet on the surface
Of the creek, still, not movin' at all.
Water skippers danced on the water
Skating as if on a frozen pond.
I leaned on the rail, hypnotized
Wantin' to jump in and cry
"Tag, you're it."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cool Nights

The cool nights are like old friends
Slippin' in real quiet like,
Not wantin' to make a fuss
Not lookin' for any attention.
Just showin' up an' bein' there,
Like they was there all along
Chilly an' good for sleepin'.
Hot days will soon give way
The brisk days of fall
Will show soon enough
Wantin' everyone to notice.
Not like the nights
Cool nights, quilt nights
Nights you snuggle up
To the one you have loved
For ever so long.
Wrap your arms around them
Move real close to them
Feel the gentle heat
Burnin' low for more years
Than anyone realized.
Glad for the cool nights.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Full Moon

Full moon stuck out
Of the early mornin' sky
Like someone stuck a hole
In a purple banner
Lettin' in light
Into a night filled
To the brim
With fog, damp an' warm.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Off to see my Muse

Off to Tennessee to visit my muse.  After being in the city with concrete, steel, glass and brick for so long I yearn for moments in the mountains.  I am refreshed and renewed by the trees that surround my little cabin.  I hope to come back refreshed and full of thoughts I can put to paper and post here, for you.

Think about me as I sit on the porch of a neighbor's cabin and laugh about stories from local folks, tell tall tales that might have a kernel of truth.  Perhaps I will play the dulcimer long into the evening and watch as the moths and lightening bugs take a turn about the yard together, dancing in time to the drone of the dulcimer.

See you soon, dear cousin.  Sleep well till I am back and I will tell you marvelous things.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Long legged fox
Hidin' behind rocks
Sneakin' up on me
Watchin' so very careful

Surprised I see you
Shocked that your stealth
Was seen so easily
Stunned you were seen.

Raise up an' stand there
Not sure what to do
Not realizin' the size of me
Not findin' easy quarry.

Lope on off now
Stop an' looky see
Stare over your back
Look so questioning,

I am happy for our meetin'
You maybe not so
Think you'd rather meet a bunny
Mouse or little bird.
stormy weather today. Makes me wish I was down home in the hills of Kentucky, sitting under a tin roof and listening to the rain.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Blessed is He

Blessed is the man
Who can look inward
And see the mountains
Hills of Home
Ridges, rills and hollers
Rising up or falling low
Tumbling out of memory
Assembling in the ether
Of imagination
To remind the lonely
Mountain man
Of that which has been

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Experiment

I don't post personal notes here often, but I thought I would ruminate for a minute or two with you.

This blog is an experiment in many ways.  I'd like to think of myself as a modern day explorer in some ways.  Trying a new medium that not everyone is willing to try.  Many writers are reluctant to write on the internet because they fear that their "stuff" will be stolen and taken away to other sites, claimed by other people.  I suspect that can happen to me too, I have never looked to see if any ragged verse appears anywhere without my name attached.  I know my name has shown up elsewhere with some of my verses.

You see, I desire to be read.  I could write my heart out, day and night and never have anyone see it.  Most writers do just that.  Sometimes they go to a writer's group and read for 10 or 15 other writers who sit and critique their writing.  I don't much care for other writer's opinions.  What I do enjoy is seeing the 3-4 thousand hits on this site every month.  That tells me someone is reading.

I see myself as a illustrator, not a Norman Rockwell, but like that- telling a story, making you feel as you read what I might feel when I look at a Norman Rockwell painting.  I want to make you, the reader feel like you can see what I write.  I want your mind to see the hills of home, feel the breeze on the porch on a hot summer day, smell the smell of old leather in a century old barn.

I don't always respond to folks when they write.  I don't post your responses on here when you submit them.  That isn't what this is about.  I don't want this space filled with pictures of me or little notes to you about my life or stuff.  I want it to be a note to you... from me that you can read, see, taste, hear and feel.

So, forgive me if I don't always respond.  I love to hear from you... especially those of you who have stayed with me forever, you know who you are.  Take the time to let me know someone is out there.  I might surprise you!

My Best,

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rain Doves

I heard the rain doves early this morning
The cried softly as dawn rolled toward me
Not like the brayin' of an ol' rooster
Not to wake folks up or interrupt dreams
More like to mourn the day.

I wondered to myself about the sounds of mournin'
Then realized it was a long way from home
Too far from the hills I call home.
The warmth of an old cabin
The smiles of country folks
And a hand thrown up in passin'.

No wonder the rain doves cry.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Dream Just Past Oz

Have you ever stood on the top of a mountain
High above the hollers of your home
All filled with the brash newness of the world
Have you stood there and looked with disdain?
As you stood there, has the mists parted
Like a window on a world no longer there?

Have you looked down,
Past Oz, past Brigadoon
And seen the way it was, the way it should be?
Have you seen thin trails of wood smoke
Rising lazy from dozens of cabins?
Did you glimpse tall lean men working in the fields
Women sittin' on porches, piecing quilts
Youngin's playin' at games lost to kids today?

As you watched, did you feel weary at this world?
Did you have an urge to walk away
Leave this time, this place
Step into the mists and wish,
Dream, Hope as you walk toward
What was, what should be?

Take my hand, hold it tight for a moment
Step through that mist with me,
Hold tight, dream with me,
Hope with me, believe
Cross your fingers and pray.

I'll wait for you there.

Run Away

Run away for a while
Wait till eyes are turned
Sneak off right quick
And run...

Run so very fast
Your hair flies back
Your eyes water
Your mouth turns up
In a knowing grin.

Run away with me
Come on now, come
Chase through the woods.
Catch me if you can.
Come on now,

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Perfect Day

The pond calls to the dogs
As the day nears perfection
Sunshine and heat mix
For a chance at a perfect day.

Youngin's float
Summertime lazy on the pond.
Dogs swim and retrieve
Swim and retrieve
Sticks, thrown apples and green pears.

Shade is a pleasure
Not a necessity
As I sit and watch
And remember other perfect days.

Caught frogs, slippery salamanders
Laughs of joy and pleasure
Splashes of eager dogs.
A cold glass of sweet tea
Dewdrops tracin' down.
Yep, this day has my vote
A vote for
A perfect day.

Appalachian Symphony

Split rail fences like bars of music
With birds sittin' on the rails
Like notes to be played
In a glorious hymn of praise.
Mountains wiped over
With a whitewash of fog
As if the Creator
Scored a symphony
Played by the wind
Syncopated by the rumble
Of thunder dancin'
Up and down the hollers
Tappin' out a rhythm
On the slate rock
Of every dry branch.
The melody is whispered
In the shifting wind
The high soprano harmonies
Taken up by the mockingbird
The subtle alto sung
By the whippoorwill.
Sweet grasses dance
In time to the music
One way then another
This way and back
To an Appalachian Symphony.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lights of Home

I want to drive a crooked road
All the way to the end.
I want to look down a hill
As I go around a bend
And see the lights
Of little houses and cabins
Shinin' in the twilight
Wrapped in smoky mist.
A reminder of those
Who chose not to leave
But stayed home
In hills an' hollers
Clefts and ridges
High in the Appalachias.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Do you know who I am?
I am the one who remembers
I do not forget
Will not forget
Can not forget.
I remember for you.
I am there,
Back there to remind you
To show you how it was
To let you feel once more
The joy, the hurt
The simple things that
Made you smile.

The sound of leaves scratchin'
Along the ground
Pushed by the wind
On an autumn day

That first kiss
Stolen so quickly
Soft and sweet
Remembered by me
Reminded to you.

The smell of supper
Cookin' in the house
While you played outside
Waitin' to hear a call
"Dinner, come on in"

The touch of your hand
On theirs
Reaching, feeling, hoping
Finding reassurance
Feeling a quickening
As finger intertwine.

Do you know who I am?
I remember for you.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I Know

I know you have been here
I don't know when you stop
Don't know if what I write
Makes you smile
Remember a place
A time that is past
Does not exist anywhere
Except in memory.

I suspect you look back
Just as I do
And think of those times
So many places
You have been
Reminded by my feeble thoughts
Of what has been lost
Of the way it was.

I know you have been here
I see your sad smile.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Road

Life had changed him, death stopped by and robbed him of a Daddy, Mama, his family, his kin.  Jimmie walked numb through the mourning, the handshakes, hugs and prayers.  Hands reaching out to him just never could reach through the fog to pull him back into living.

Though he was almost ready to leave home, Jimmie had not pulled up anchor and drifted away from that house deep in the holler not too far outside of Beloved, Kentucky.  He had a summer job at the Carnegie Library.

That is where the deputy sheriff found him the day his folks slid into the guardrail to avoid that deer.  Their truck tumbled down a ravine and settled on its side more than 300 feet below.  Their horn cried long and loud until Uncle Billy Gilbert drove by, windows down.  The smashed rail and braying horn caused him to stop.  All Uncle Billy could do is cry and pray when he got to the bottom of the ravine.  It was too late to do more.

Jimmie sat for days in the home his folks had brought to life with harmony, smiles and the joinery of heart, hearth and table that makes a mountain home.  He looked into a dusty hearth without seeing.  He walked the halls and stood on the big wrap around porch without feeling.  One moment he rose for a bit from the hurt when he heard the creak of the porch swing.  His head turned to look before reality reminded his conscious mind it was only the wind.

No one called from the library to remind him he needed to come to work.  Neighbors had been kind, had brought a mountain of food to show their love before the funeral.  Now they all seemed to have deserted him.  Reality was they didn't want to be a bother.

Jimmie needed the bother.

This went on for two weeks.  The only person that realized anything was wrong was a little bitty fellow that was the last person to offer help.  He was short, thin and of no social consequence.  He didn't bathe often, he kiddingly told folks he was H2O intolerant.  His name was Peanut Chappell and he was distant cousin to Jimmie and his family.  The longest conversation Jimmie had ever had with Peanut was over the quality of the moonshine that ol' Bert made over on Double Creek, near Peabody.

Jimmie might have thought it odd if he had not sunk so low, had not been so far from living as he was, when Peanut stopped by in his Daddy's old International truck.

"Jimmie, I hate to bother you, but I really need someone to help me.  There is a real problem and I can't find anyone else who could help solve it."

Peanut had to beg and cajole Jimmie for over half an hour.  Finally Jimmie agreed to help.  He sat and looked at nothing as the truck rumbled down a road he didn't recognize.

After nearly twenty minutes they stopped and Peanut told him they were "there".  They both got out and Peanut told Jimmie to have a seat on a big log that had fallen on the side of the road.  Road was actually an exaggeration.  This was little more than a growed up path to nowhere.  Jimmie didn't notice.

"Jimmie, here is how it is.  You are worthless right now.  You are in some kind of way an' no one is doin' a thing about it.  Specially you.  do you think your Mama would like what she sees?  Shucks man, you haven't even had a bath in days.  I know!  I am an expert in that area.  You need a good kick in the pants is what your Daddy would say and I am givin' it to ya.  I am leavin' an' you are not comin' with me.  You can sit here on your sorry tail an' die if you want.  Or you can get up an' walk home.  Take time to think as you walk, ol' boy.  I got you about 15 miles from anyone, so you are on your own"

As he spoke these words, Peanut became more than he ever was before, or after in his life.  The good Lord must have laid this on his heart, for he never had a moment like this again.

After Peanut drove off Jimmie sat there for a while in the same funk as before.  Then he got mad.  He got plain ol' ticked off.  How dare Peanut Chappell preach to him.  How dare him leave like that!  Hey, how dare he leave without a bit of food all this way.

Then he noticed the brown bag layin' by him.  Inside were half dozen biscuits, a couple small tomatoes, some sliced ham and a peach.  A note was scrawled on the bag, "love you man." in Peanut's simple handwriting.

Jimmie got up and began walking pretty slowly.  He just had to follow the road back.  It wasn't really hard going, just tedious.  He carried the bag in his left hand and didn't think at all as he walked.

Since Peanut picked him up late in the day, Jimmie ended up spending a uncomfortable night in the holler, cold and alone.  He was already feeling that way inside... all he needed was to feel that way outside.

In the morning he ate more of the food Peanut had left and sat for a while wondering what in the world Peanut thought this would accomplish.

He walked till about 10:00 and as he walked around a corner he saw an old board with words painted in white paint; This a way Jimmie".  It pointed up a dry branch.  He figured Peanut had a shortcut so he obediently followed.

At the top of the hill was another sign; "See what God had wrought.  It is all in His plan".

Jimmie looked out over the hills and hollers that were home to all his family for nearly 200 years.  He saw his town of Beloved, the Carnegie Library, cars and trucks moving along the roads below.  Some were leaving and some coming into town.

Far up the hill he saw the little church where his family worshiped... Where his Mama and Daddy were buried.  He could see the mounds of bright colored flowers still heaped on the raw earth of their graves.  Tears stung his eyes as he looked over the hills of home to that place where they lay.

Why would Peanut do this to him?  Why?

He read the sign again, "See what God had wrought.  It is all in His plan".

You don't need to know all Jimmie said, the rants, the curse he threw at the hills, at God, at his Daddy for worrying more about a deer than his own family.  He cursed the day he was born, the day that the deer was born, he cursed one and all without prejudice.

Then he sat, he slept finally and woke during the long night.
It was warm there that night, almost like he was meant to be there.  He saw the lights of little cabins snuggled up to the feet of the hills, worn down hard by god years ago.  He felt worn down like the hills.  As he watched, the lights went out in home after home till only a few pole lights lit the little village of Beloved.

Jimmie didn't sleep.  He sat and watched as the world slept.  He searched his heart and wondered about a plan that allowed his folks to die.

The next morning he rose and turned to go, only to find himself facing an overgrown cemetery.  He walked inside the gate and wandered through the stones.  Dozens of pioneer families were buried there, many with only sandstone markers on their graves.  He read the names, the dates, the simple expressions of love.

He came to one stone that was different.  In the midst of all the graves was one small stone that said simply, "Lucinda, Beloved by me"

Peanut had walked quietly up behind him.  "That is why our hometown is named Beloved.  A man named by Felix came here, had that meadow that is our town surveyed for a farm.  He meant for his wife to see it, it was for her.  He got her here, this far and she fell, was hurt and died in his arms.  She saw the place, just never got there.  She said to him, 'what a beloved place.  That is what he called it.  He built other cabins an' when a few folks stopped, he invited them to stay.  He could have just sat up here an' died too.  He didn't though, he went on down the road."

They sat for a while till Peanut spoke again, "I cain't figure it out, Jimmie.  I have studied on it a good bit, I don't have no kind of answers.  I reckon this was sort of silly  I just know you gotta get on down the road now.  I'll take you home, lets go."

Jimmie looked at him for a moment and thanked Peanut for the offer, then told him he needed to walk.

That's what he did.  He just walked on down the road toward his home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Restless Night

Storm tonight has me restless
Makes me want to go somewhere
Do something, but I don't know
Just don't know what I want,
What I need.

Seems like I might be satisfied
To sit on the porch of an old log cabin
Watchin' the rain
Listenin' to it hit the tin roof.
Maybe sip a cup of scalded coffee
Maybe sip a little glass
Of corn likker
Cold from the fridge
Drops of dew on the glass.

See an old sooner dog look
Out from a barn door
Wantin' to come up
Onto the porch
Wantin' human company
But too well mannered
To bring his sorry old wet hide
Up with civil folks.

Maybe I'd put on old work boots
Throw a slicker on
Put a wide brimmed hat
Top of my head
And walk the ridges,
Feel the rain gentle on me
Wander through the hills
Like a sodden ghost
Through the rain
Through the mist caught low
Lookin' for what might have been
Lookin' for what is
Hopin' for what will be.

Lookin deep into the valleys
Searchin' the hillside
Lookin' behind every tree
For that which was lost.
Maybe callin' out
Knowin' there won't be
Any answer
But callin' just the same.

Maybe I'll take an old Indian flute
Play a forlorn tune
Hauntin' as the memories
I carry like burdens tonight.
Maybe as I play
Top of the ridge
Standin' on the dirt an' clay
That claims my spirit
Shackles my heart to the hills
Spirits of my ancestors
Welsh, Irish, Scots
Will come down to dance a reel, or jig
Joined by those who have darker skin,
Red and brown
Powhatan, Choctaw, Cherokee
And mysterious Melungeon
To take their turn in the dance
Calling to me
"Come, join, dance
Dance the dance
Of the Appalachia's
Slow, eternal.
Dance with us,
Our son, our child"
But I play
I cannot stop
But perhaps I do.

And in the silence I hear
The tune eternal of hill and holler
Rock and rill
Blowin' down every dry branch
Whispered by the mighty oak
Taken up by bird and beast.
The song of home.
                            the song of home.

I am restless tonight
                        Maybe it is just the storm.
                                                                 Maybe I hear an ancient call.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What Do You Miss?

Dear Cousins,
Recently some of my storyteller friends asked, "What do you miss most from your childhood?"
When I read the responses I smiled wistfully.  More than once I said "yes, I miss that too" quietly to myself.

I miss more than things, though.  I do miss the toys, the candy, the wonderful
 television shows from my childhood, but more importantly, I miss the
 quietness of life, the innocence of being a little boy, they joy of
 facing each new day like it is a treasure.

It is a wonderful time; childhood, a time when cutting off an old pair
 of pajama bottoms at the knee, adding a big wide belt from Mama's
 closet and tying one of her best red scarves round my head made me a pirate for
 the day.  A construction paper eye patch held on with thread and a Roy
 Rogers pistol that could magically turn into a musket finished off the
 ensemble.  I wasn't afraid or embarrassed to go out into public and down
 the road to the woods to play pirate all day with my little brother.
  Mama and Daddy never called for us or came looking, cause they knew we
 were around close.

Remember having a girlfriend that your heart just ached for, thinking
 she was just the prettiest thing in the world... and then blushing
 'cause she said hi to you in the hall at school?

Remember coming home all hot and sweaty and Mama telling you to take a
 quick bath before supper 'cause Daddy didn't want to smell dirty boys
 all through supper?  Or going up an' splashin' round in the tub without
 ever getting in... and rubbin' the washrag over your face to prove you
 did bathe?  Of course the dirt and sweat on the rest of your body was a
 dead give away!!

I miss walking to my Grandma's house a good piece down the road to see if she had
 peanut butter cookies made an' walkin' back home with a fistful... and not
 having to ask permission.

A kid just did that back then.

Yes, I miss that time, that era,
that place that fades in my memory
until I stop and make myself sit still,
till I say to myself...
"yes, I remember that."


Friday, June 22, 2007

Rainy Day Memories

As I drove in the rain today I celebrated because the rain was steady and full.  It was neither harsh and running too fast off the dry, chapped soil or to little too late.  It was a soaking rain, one much needed by those around my piece of the hills.

As I drove I thought back to my childhood and the deep hollers of eastern Kentucky, my family's ancestral home for over 250 years deep in Appalachia.  Back home folks didn't have huge expanses of grass.  Where grass did grow was kept short with a push mower or perhaps a scythe or sickle.  Most times the yard was loose gravel or hard yellow dirt where the dogs would lay and chickens scratch or chase the wanderin' junebug.  Rain would quickly run off or turn the crusty yellow to slick orange mud.

The drought was different then too.  Most of my kin lived close to a creek, branch or shallow river.  The most vivid image of those times is that of uncles, aunts, grandparents and cousins walking trip after trip from the creek or stream with some type of metal bucket, lard bucket, coffee can, empty fruit can or perhaps a galvanized bucket from the house...back and forth time after time after time, filling bucket or can with creek water and walking into the garden or 'baccer patch to slowly pour water on the thirsty plants.  They poured slow so every drop would go to the shrunken roots and not run off and be wasted.

Old backs would bend, knees creak as the walked, as they stooped and as they poured nourishment on tomatoes, taters, beans, corn and the cash crop of 'baccer.  It was nonstop work that happened each day, never ending, never complained about because each knew one fact... this is our livelihood, this is our food, these are the things that sustain us.  We will not let them die, we will not let them dry up.

That is the image of my youth I see and share today - wet spots around precious plants, waitin' in the dusty yellow clay, waiting their turn patiently for a drink. 

Good folks, steady and careful walking the circle of life.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer is Stingy

The summer is a poor visitor
Stingy with its beauty
Cheered on by drought
Evil in its heat.

Hard cracked soil
Grass dead
Crackles like
Broken bones.

Flowers struggle
Valiant fight
Blooming quietly
Proud even as they wilt.

Rain comes and teases
Earth mouth open
Waits for a sup
Finds only a sip.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Shameful Summer

Summer has snuck in
Hiding under
The pretense
Of Spring.
Taking advantage.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Yes Deer

What a pleasure to spend Memorial Day weekend in the mountains of Appalachia.  It is dry and one risks wildfires if you burn a campfire or trash, but the woods are a million shades of green and full of life.  At night, as I lay in bed with windows wide open the sounds of the nocturnal animals can be heard throughout the night, birds call, occasionally a coyote sings love songs to a moon not nearly full and one lone bobwhite calls sadly, wanting a response but never hearing one.  After several years of work, my little cabin now has electric and water... the water is still not into the house, but a pump works and brings water to an outside faucet.

As we drove through the hills we saw deer, turkey, coon, turtles and so very many birds or all varieties.  At one point, a deer came up a ravine at full speed, most likely being chased by a coyote or wild dog and leapt high as it ran to jump a tall fence on the side of the road I traveled.  It soared over the fence easily and landed in the middle of the gravel road before it made another bound and leapt off the road into the weeds on the other side.

At another point we drove slowly along a road and saw a deer stop momentarily in the middle of the road, look at us and then jump to the side, up a very small bank.  In the ditch we saw its fawn, only days old as it struggled up the bank, only 18 inches high but a major barrier for awkward legs not yet able to run and leap.  We sat and grinned as it made its way up that bank.  I could not take my eyes off it and sat for so very long watching the Mama wait and the fawn stumble along till it joined her.

How blessed I am to have a place in the woods, high in the mountains of Appalachia, along a ridge covered with oak, hickory, sassafras and sourwood.  How blessed I am to be steward over this small piece of home.

Monday, May 14, 2007

To Ride A Bike

Wish I was a boy once more
With a big ol' red bike
Sittin' high top of a hill
Lookin' down a long
Dirt road goin' down
An' up again a time or two
So I could coast down
Then' pedal hard to get to the top
Of the next small hill
Ridin' an' coastin'
All the way
To the bottom
Watchin' the trees fly by
Feelin' the wind pushin' at me.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Storm Risin'

The thunderheads had threatened
Near all day long.
Grumblin' an' carryin' on over the ridge
For ever so long,
Cursin' an' spittin' at the hills
Barkin' down the hollers.

Finally the storm broke loose
Terrible rain,
Horrible storm beatin' life down.
Washin' an' scrubbin'
Like a spinster aunt who never even
Washed a baby child.

Those in the hills, kith and kin
Bird an' beast
Could hardly take a breath.
Like drownin'
Hard to hear or see through the rain
Time to hunker down.

Storm finally slows and dies
Wasted an' worn.
First out an old brammer bull
Fearin' nothin
Wanders to an ol' hickory fence post
Leans hard.

A coon, 'bout drowned crawls top a log
Hair punked up
Lookin' all wild an hassled by the rain
Birds wake, sing
Life moves on quickly, merrily
After the storm.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Survey Round Home

A spring visit up to the top of the highest mountain near home is just not enough.
 Standing at the peak of the hill I can feel the wind pushin' me,
tuggin' at me, tossin' y jacket like an overgrown pup dog
excited to play with someone on that lonely ridge. 
Lookin' down and out I see smoke rise for a few homesteads
and hear the gentle laughter of youngin's as they play an' run. 
Occasionally a screen door slaps 'gainst the houses below with a whack
that is almost too loud for the peace of the holler below me.

All round are the signs of life, ants cling to the side of a sweet gum,
grabbin' bits of sap an' runnin' for home...
bumble bees stagger through the air, about their duty, lookin' for the buds an' hints of flowers,
some not quite open. 
The dogwoods are in bloom, though and the red-bud, both singin' an' shoutin' "look at me, look at me!" 
One can't help but see them in the still yet barren hillsides.

There are but a few little moths and butterflies wanderin' round,
stoppin' 'bout the mud puddles in the road, on the path leadin' up the hill.
 I watch them as they do a jig above the mud and land once more to sip in the water.
Soon enough the air will be filled with bugs an' mites
an all sorts of critters doin' what the good Lord intended.

Me, I'm doin' that too... what the good Lord intended
surveyin' the hills an' hollers of home. 
Knowin' that it is good,
yes, it is good.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Do you know what you call a Mountain Man in Paradise?


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Gone Home

Gone to the hills
Seeking my muse
Songs of the mountains
Hills humming
Whisperin' my name
I'll hear it as I drive
Callin' again an' again,
Come home
We miss you
Come home.
I'll go faster still
Till I am home
to the hills.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Flight of Fancy

Oh, that I could fly
To stretch forth wings
And push away
From the clods of dirt
Reach out with magic
To slip through air
Just feel the winds
Raise me up
And toss me
Like a bit of down
Shaken from a bird
Released to go
Where it will.

Oh that I could fly,
And look down below
With tears in my eyes
At the hills of home.
That I could see
With birds eye view
The hollers, creeks
Rivers and rugged cliffs
Of Appalachia.
That I could take in
Even more than I can
See, feel, taste, hear
And touch
Of my Beloved home.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Way down the holler
Down yonder over
The hill behind the house
Is a stream
Swampy all round
Cattails stand tall but
Dead from last year
Green shoots just risin'
Along the banks.
Sittin' on the back porch
You can listen
Real quiet like
And hear them
Shh, do you hear them?
Little ol' frogs
Just a peepin'
Voices like rusty hinges
Singin' a love song
Singin' of spring.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Stubborn Spring

Nearly here,
Stubborn spring
Clings to the skirts
Of Winter.
Dragging snow
And cold
Back again
And Again.
Hiding here
In flowerbeds
Daring daffodils
To push through
Whispering lies
Of cold
And frostbite
In the ears
Of silly bulbs.

Monday, March 12, 2007

As I Ramble

Ah dear cousin,
I have not had opportunity to write in a while.  I shall seek to remedy that this week, but since you are here, sit a spell and lets just talk for a while.  Sit and watch the morning mist burn away in the small heat of the March sun.  It will burn quickly in a month or so, but just now it lingers and swirls quietly as the sun wastes it away.  Sit with me on the porch, rock in an old rocker, older than you or me and made by an ancestor over 100 years ago.

Today I feel ancient, though I am not nearly so.  I will be 54 on Friday, dear cousin.  I do not feel any older than I did 20 years ago, but time does not stand still, nor does it lie.  So much has changed, yet I feel the same.  I wish that I could go, run just now to the hills of home and spend the week in the shadows of the mountains for a few days, letting my spirit drink in the beauty of the hills I love.  I wish I could spend the last days of my 53rd year walking down dusty roads to see old cabins with tin roofs, hear worn out ol' hound dogs bay and call to me as I come close to homesteads warm with the welcome heat of wood stoves.  Now and again cousins would invite me in for coffee and perhaps even lunch.  I'd be pleased with just a baloney sandwich on white bread, but might be tempted and delighted with soup beans or fried ham.

I thought this week about older men and why they chase young women as they do.  Not that I do or would.  Oh My Darlin' is soul mate and treasure to me.  I wonder if they refuse to see themselves age in the mirror, feel as I do, that they haven't really aged in the last 20 or thirty years?  I wonder if they pursue younger and younger women and girls to try and reflect how they want to be, how they feel inside?  I wonder if it is a race away from aging and an attempt to be forever young?  Or perhaps it is just the old bull, trying to remain supreme and challenging the young bulls by claiming as much of the herd of beautiful women for himself, thus declaring supremacy?

Or perhaps they are just old perverts!!!

I wish I could sit on the porch of home this week and wait for company, watching to road in the evening for someone to stop with a cake, or maybe a jar of sourwood honey to wish me Happy Birthday and sit for a while, talking some but mostly just rockin' and watchin' the mist as it burns away real slow like.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Just So

Old man sits
Rocks now
And again.
Warm fire
Front of him
Old dog
Side of him.
Life's just right
As it is.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Quilt Night

Quilt night
Good night to snuggle
Next to your darlin'
Sink deep
Into a feather bed
It puffs up
Round you
Wrappin' y'all
In warm security.
Howl wind, howl
Scream round us
Shriek loud
Hateful Winter.
For we are warm
And do not care.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Fireball Moon

Red hot fireball moon
Hangin' real low,
Just over the ridge
Down home
Wrapped all round
By a deep purple sky.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cruel Beast

Winter has been cruel to the woods in the hills.  She has teased for so long, offering false glimpses of spring to trees that do not suspect her deception.  Warm weather and rain to wash away the dry leaves of fall were just trickery to those tall residents of the hills and hollers of home.

Now she does the inevitable, she rushes in the cold, the snow and throws it at all who were fooled by the false spring.  She hurls ice and piles snow upon rock and root in mockery of the trust that the mountains placed in the signs of spring.  She mocks and she destroys, as is her wont.  She is a beast, hideous and cruel in nature.

Don't be fooled by the seemingly gentle vistas of white snow blanketing the meadows.  It is like a python, wrapping around and smothering.  Winter is a cruel beast.  She paces around through the mighty oak, hickory and maples, looking for ways to hurt and harm, nipping off buds of trees that took the warm weather to heart.

Winter is a cruel beast, there is no real warmth in her.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cold Night

Cold night has come
Deep purple
Stars thrown out
All over the sky.
Not chilly
But bone cold
Standin' the hair
Up on the neck cold
Like a wild animal tryin'
To bush out his coat

Monday, January 15, 2007

Washtub Concert

The winter rain
Falls quiet
On a day
That is too warm
For snow.
In the place
Winter white
There is mud
Brown and dull
Dead leaves
Sodden mud
The sterile beauty
Of winter.

Yet under
My porch
Drops of water
Fall through
And play
A merry
On metal
Laid upside down.
Plink dink
Plink plunk.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Gossamer Laser

A single strand
Of spider web
Pulled tight
Between two trees
Holding them in place.
Like a gossamer laser
It shines
As it twirls
And is hit
By glancing
Sun rays.