Friday, December 28, 2012

Wind wolves an' Dreams of Home

The cold of winter and snow thick on the roof make me mournful an' wantin' to see the hills.
When the wind blows hard an' this ol' house groans an' threatens to ease off its foundations
I lay awake an' listen to the wind wolves cry as they push agin the sides of the place
They try hard to get in, pacin' an' a pushin', hopin' to find a crack or weak spot to worry at.

Amid the creaks an' groans, howls of the wind wolves I dream, half awake of a little ol' log cabin
Laid up in the hills, deep up a holler all cozied up agin the foot of an ancient mountain
That mountain tired an' worn by a thousand an' a thousand years of wear an' toil
Tired out long before settlers wandered across the Warrior's Path to settle into a hard scrabble life.

Though their life was hard an' toilsome, that red an' yeller soil was somehow ground into their lives
It was pushed deep into their soul, into the memories of a dozen generations of mountain folks.
It became their bone an' blood, their strength an' their toil, their love an' their life
Somehow that sorry ol soil, hard scrabble life became who an' what they were, what we are.

An' now it calls to me once more as I lay awake, wantin' to find my way along frozen highways
South without glancin' at towns or sights along the straight an' narrow asphalt trail that leads home
I close my eyes to almost see each sign, each exit as I travel down through the foothills
Deeper, deeper still into the hollers, across the creeks an' down along a riverbed lined with slate.

Oh, in my dreams I am home, I am home as I stand in front of that ol' log house, covered with snow
As I look I see smoke pushin' lazy like up the chimbley an out into the cold winter that wraps around it.
It ain't much at all, not a lot to look at an' not no kind of a mansion, as plain as an ol' mud fence
Look careful there over there at that little ol window yonder an' see, do you see the light put there for me?

Do you hear what I'm a sayin'?
That light yonder, put there for me.  A light in the window, a latch string left out.  Lettin' me know...
I am welcome.  I am home.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September Song

I think often of the hills of home and long to be there,
Where the twilight is just the setting of a scene
For the eternal song of the hills,
Sung by the bats - high and unheard by folks,
Tree frogs join in their high chorus
Along with cicadas, crickets
And dozens of little ol' singin' things.
The hooty owl gives chase to the tune with a     baritone "whoooo".
The bass is sung by the thunder rollin' through the hills an' hollers of home.
The listener is just plain mountain folks...
Folks who knew to stay and listen.
I yearn to hear that nightly concert,
Sung the same, night after night like a siren,
Callin' to those who have the hills in their blood.
Callin' like a lover to me.
Callin' my name as if it has known me forever...
For it has, it truly has.

copyright Stephen Hollen   9/18/2005

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Do you remember?
Where you were
Who stood by your side?
When the news came
When you first saw the horror?

It is an image
That is seared
Into the backs of my eyes
Burned into my brain.

Images that will never fade
Shock that doesn't ease
The sight of men, women
Jumping to their death
Can you imagine
A situation
When that is the best option?

This is a piece I wrote after 9/11.  I try to post it each year as I remember those lives lost, those brave souls, living and dead who sought to save others.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Muddled Dawn

It is early dawn and the day is yet defined
The eastern horizon is covered in a mist
That has muddled the first attempts at morning.
Purple, yellow orange and red swirl together
Behind that opaque curtain in the distance
As if they are beauty contestants
Vying for the title of Queen of the Day.
As I sit and wonder about the winner.
Which shall introduce the wonderment?
The joy of a new day rolling along 
Toward me through the misty morn.
Flashing finally brilliant and bright.
Which shall win the prize and glow
In the eastern sky
Purple, yellow, orange or red?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Old Home Place

I have posted this photo before.  It is the old Arnett home place, originally built by my  Great Grandpa, Tom Arnett.  Though it is gone, I remember it well.  

It started out as a smaller cabin that is the left side of this cabin.  Another small cabin was built and is the right side of the cabin.  The middle is a dogtrot made of planks that joined the two cabins together.  Along the back is a shotgun kitchen that was almost the full length of this cabin.

I have so many wonderful memories attached to this old place.  Though it is gone, my mind races back to the hills and Arnett's Fork off Double Creek in Clay County, Kentucky.  I still can see my Great Aunts - Mag and Bess and Great Uncle Bill sitting on the porch.  As I get closer they all stand and wait to hug my neck.

Just across the creek to the left of this picture was the home my Grandma and Uncle Bert (Daddy's Mama and brother) shared.

It is a reminder that happiness does not spring from wealth or things, but from the hearts of those who love us and who we love.