James
James
6 days ago

I left something in Kentucky
just north of Jellico
lost, now in the Cumberland

Youth is never wasted --
It's spent,

Our youth is spent in waste

When she took my hand and led me
over the rocks and into the stream
I wasn't sure if it was the cold water
or the feel of her skin against mine
that caused my stomach
to clinch and rise to my throat

More likely it was fear

As her body moved over mine
I felt a fearful, spiritual sensation

The sermon that morning
was on the evils of the flesh
and the sin of earthly desire

That preacher had never been chest deep
in a mountain spring
staring up at a noon sun
through strands of auburn hair
and eyes illuminated by water
glistening in the mid-day light

I left her at the mailbox
standing at the intersection
of the gravel road and her dirt driveway

As her fingers slipped from mine
I asked if I could walk her to church
next Sunday, too

#love   #sex   #youth   #appalachian  
James
James
Mar 9

The rain on the roof, it’s hypnotic;
taking me back home
The tin roof on an old screened-in porch
summer nights we slept there,
escaping the southern heat,
feeling the cool breeze after a thunderstorm --
I smell the moisture in the air
fresh rain on the grass outside
Steam rising from the paved road.
The rhythmic sound sends me to sleep
I see my mother and my grandmother
shucking corn and shelling beans.
I catch nightcrawlers with my grandfather.
Tomorrow we’re going fishing.

James
James
Mar 9

“Where’re you from?”
That’s usually the first question I get when people first meet me.  
I guess I am a little bit different,
after all, I was born on a hill-side farm, so steep
that daddy had to go out every morning and turn the cows around
so their legs wouldn’t grow shorter on one side.
But, that’s life in the mountains,
when every day is a hard-scrabble fight just to get by.
Most people don’t believe it;
don’t believe that there are real people still living
a hand-to-mouth life,
still, fight’n every day for tomorrow’s breakfast
and worrying if this year’s corn will make
or if a flood will ruin the sweet potatoes before the Fall harvest --
Worrying about whatever critter’s got the hens spooked
so bad they ain’t laid in two weeks
all while little Junior’s got the croup
and the nearest Doctor is more than an hour away
we ain’t got insurance anyway
and who’s got money to pay.
It’s work six days a week, sun-up to sundown,
but Sunday’s are for praying
and listening to the preacher lead us in “Amazing grace,
how sweet the sound,”
just so we’re reminded of how blessed we really are
while we try to hold our eyes open
because we were up all night with a sick mare trying to foal
and the two hours of sleep we did get
were interrupted by a wheezing cough from Grandma’s room.
But every other week we get a trip to town,
with a stop at the feed store and  Wal-Mart
so we can look at what-not while momma buys flour
and store-bought eggs--
until the hens start lay’n again.

I took this down to work on it a while back.  Hope you enjoy it.
James
James
Mar 6

Running barefoot through the pasture
feeling the fescue between my toes.
Ten years old, maybe a little more,
no worries, no cares, just a few chores.

It's summer in the mountains.
We catch crappie and smallmouth
with grubs from a rotten log.
The Cumberland River is wild,
an endless treasure of adventure.
Trout rule the streams that feed the rapids,
impossible for you, but we know their secrets.

Dusk is falling.
I can hear my mother calling

A slightly revised oldie.
James
James
Mar 5

I remember picking blackberries in July,
every morning by the railroad tracks
along an old barbed-wire fence.  Silver strands
and rusty barbs, it ran for miles, chasing the tracks.
The fence was grown over with briars
and vines, woven through the strands like a fine rug,
but thick with green leaves and sharp thorns.
If you stand in the middle of tracks on a cloudy day
they form a giant tunnel that goes forever in the distance.
You can see the long train burst through, it's smoke
lost in the low gray clouds.
We would lay along the fence beside the tracks and feel
the earth shake as a mile of coal cars came screaming by.
I can still hear the train whistle blowing
and the rumbling sound of a million tons of steel.
When it's past we would work along the fence,
filling our buckets with berries,
eating the fattest ones,
the rest were for mothers jellies and maybe a cobbler
if she had time.
The fence is still there and the train still comes
but I wonder, where have the blackberries all gone?

This an old poem...I hope I've gotten better
James
James
Feb 22

I flip the collar of my fleece lined coat
Protecting me from the cold North wind.
The chill bites at my ears. The warmth
From the camp fire can’t reach me,
So I hunch down further into my coat
And tilt my head from the wind as best I can.

It’s my first coon hunt with my grandfather,
My father, and his Uncle Charlie.  I try hard
To mimic them, to be the men they are,
But all I can think about is my bed
And the heavy patchwork quilt my grandmother made.

I listen to the men tell hunting stories from years ago.
I see my father glance at me, a stern look,
But compassionate making sure I am
Hanging-tough. I’m careful not to embarrass him.
The moon is high and full.  I can see the speckled stars
Flickering through the bare October canopy.

Without saying a word my grandfather stands,
Picks up his rifle and looks through the treetops.
His half Blue Tick, half Walker Hound moves,
Nose to the ground -- disappearing into the darkness.

Still cleaning it up and I need to get rid of all the (I, I, I's)
James
James
Jan 11

Thick with green, months old,
but wet as new spring birth,
from foggy mountain mornings.
Our feet slide on leaves
fooled by an early frost and
slick with petals from a maze of laurel;
The sunlight is deceiving
as it dances through a canopy
still full of summer growth,
but painted in dark pastels.
A cool spring below
as winter approaches above,
we get lost in a dense
rhododendron forest still lush
with last months blooms__

ConnectHook
ConnectHook
Sep 10, 2015

Dolly Parton: bright as waters
cleft before the Israelites
may your matrons, sons, and daughters,
bluegrass saints and satellites

crown our country, brim our fountains
long as your lyrical honor reaches
from the Appalachian mountains
to that land the Bible preaches.

Hear our thanks for all your singing
all the years of Faith and Glory
lifting up the Lord – then stinging
like a psalm (imprecatory).

I love Dolly Parton ! Thank you Jesus.

https://youtu.be/0Fvqi-aYa7Q
Joseph Hart
Joseph Hart
Jul 9, 2014

I dug a little and I cried a little
On a hillside that was steep,
So my mama could sleep.

Each dig I dig it‘ll
kill me, gotta dig a grave six feet deep,
I dug a little and I cried a little

The birds I hear them tweet,
I don’t want to see her go so I piddle,
I want my momma to sleep.

Someday on this hill we’ll meet
The dirt is hard and rock riddled,
I dug a little and I cried a little

I’m the only one to do this deed,
The worms will have their nibble,
but my mama will sleep

I’ve finished my job and I’ll have to venture,
I’ve dug so long the ground is sleet.
I dug a little and I cried a little
So my mama could sleep.

To Libby and her Mother.
 
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