sunrise road

If you’ve followed my blog very long, you’ve probably seen mention of the fact that I grew up on a farm that’s been in my family for seven generations. It’s a big part of why I write about Appalachia and have such strong nostalgia for the past. Today I thought I’d share a new poem reflecting on a piece of that history . . .


How many greats does it take
to reach back into the days
when a cousin named Electa
rode a broke down old horse
four days across the mountains
to find her wounded brother?
A great plan indeed.

The bullet broke the bone
and lodged there.
He ought not to have lived,
but he said no Rebel bullet
would kill him. So, instead
of dying, he sang songs.
Surely there was a rock of ages
and a sweet hour of prayer,
blessed assurance and
great is thy faithfulness.

Electa found him. Nursed him
and brought him back a way
that seemed familiar now.
Today, paved roads hide that trail.
Houses and cars a great washing up
of flotsam in the wake of the past.

Standing here, on land that’s been
passed down and down and down,
it’s easy to count back from seven.
It’s easy to imagine that I, too,
might manage something great.