(Mercer University Press)
7:00 p.m. Thursday May 26
The Green Toad Bookstore
198 Main St., Oneonta NY
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|Not pink shell azalea but rhododendron...|
Picture by my mother, Cullowhee, May 2011.
There is a popular bumper sticker in North Carolina that reads, If God is not a Tar Heel, why is the sky Carolina blue? That sort of sentiment is one I often heard expressed by elderly people when I was a child--that the mountains are a place closer to God. That thread is here as well. And I did go to school with teens named Prince and Queen. Rich mountain names...
The poem first appeared on Michael Burch's ambitious site, The Hypertexts.
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The Princess trees--the great seed-scattering weeds--
Erect their plum pagodas once again,
And I am rooted on the mountain's crest
As surely as are trillium, pink-shell, phlox
And uvularia--I lift the blades
To tuck the dyed eggs underneath and dream
Of a boy at the forest's edge who brought his gift,
A single egg with deep persimmon dye.
The peepers and the sweet metallic calls
Of birds are telling me--bell note, echo,
Quiver of air, trill, arrow of song--
About this place where names are Prince and Queen
And old folks say God wanders on the ridge.
How else could sky be such a heavenly blue?
Trailing children, watching the Easter hunt,
I now let go of all I ever wished.
I sniff the April ramps and ginger leaves,
I breathe the violets and sweet-smelling clay,
Seeing that my life has come to nothing.
How little I have made that's worth the keep!
My soul, much rinsed, is threadbare, fine as lawn.
And yet, like a child, I still draw near
The sky and rising mists, the hills that are
The mighty ramparts of a mercy seat.