Stroll (For Henry) The sidewalk, his nursery. The stroller, his crib. Together my grandson and I cruise the Low Country bejeweled in dew after last night’s downpour. Our gentle jostle over humpbacked pavement signals our arrival. We attract a following: first, a neighbor woman rushing across the street to catchContinue Reading

Appalachian writers breathe words. Like meditation. They might gaze out the window, past that liminal space, and describe simple raindrops, circular, solid, and sparkling atop thick green leaves after a summer shower, each one a separate little universe, a micro-microcosm disturbed, perhaps, by a lone redbird landing abruptly on aContinue Reading

“Only one thing in my life has been constant: my interest in words. I should say “devotion” to words – for it has been a devotion, rarely known, I suspect, except among the more megalomaniacally linguistic lovers who have always come to people by way of words rather than theContinue Reading

Christmas Eve 2018 A clock tick away from thirty my grandson lowers onto a chair beside me where we stare at the curious chiaroscuro of Christmas lights blinking in a pattern as undetectable as the reasons for his diagnosis. He sips air with the feeblest exertion of swamp-diseased lungs. SomeContinue Reading

Capturing a misty Blue Ridge morning, we scuttled uphill, down dale, taking up trails, traipsing through dew-covered fields, and slipped off, passing untamed hours of existence. We rested near calm lakes roused by walleye’s sporadic splash, or bluegill’s breath bubbles or striders atop the water or dew-dripped sprinkles pit-patting aContinue Reading

Protection Bricking the house against the happy jaws of wolves, my father and his tawny hired man, backs drawn deep in conspiracy, slapped mortar onto trowels, eyes migrating to as distance beyond clouds. Heat swam around them, requiring the huge delusion of some believable project to produce it. Neither spokeContinue Reading

While sifting through his library the other day, our own Edward Francisco found this gifted poem (below) written by George Scarbrough entitled “The Kitchen.”   The Kitchen Broad planks laid on the raw clay Composed the floor. Some had cupped At edges, others at ends, so one made A higgledy-piggledyContinue Reading

Their similarities were keen enough to define an archetype of the Appalachian writer at mid-20th century. Their differences were such as to make each a singular talent. Jesse Stuart, James Still, and George Scarbrough knew one another and admired each other’s work. All possessed shared experiences of growing up onContinue Reading

1. You and I lived nowhere by the river among the frogs, mushrooms, and flowers that flourished beside the sidewalks of our neighborhood. In the light of moon against the southern trees blowing in wind from the west, Your phone and my face glowed as we talked about what weContinue Reading

My grandson, Joshua Bathe, passed away last April after being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer five months earlier. The following is my poetic tribute to him.             Elegy to a Grandson           Grief undulates           like an inchworm           and just as slowly.           It forces one to use           the conditional tense:             HeContinue Reading