Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Here (a poem)

The best introduction to my blog is a poem. I wrote this one a few years back for an anthology of Appalachian writing on the theme of "home."





Here (poem)



From the southernmost reaches of night,

I have come here to stand at this window. Here I can see

winter trees linedancing on the horizon and glimpse over traffic

the bolt of the gray Tuckasegee

unrolling its sackcloth.



No ashes, just a rusty gate I jimmied

open at evensong

onto an arcade of pecan trees,

rows merging into the unseen, the underside,

through which I’ve followed a black shawl of trails

to their jump-offs where sky always waits

like an ocean in which I hear voices call:



deep in an iron skillet, sizzle of okra dropped

into hot oil, and the sound of an old woman sighing

as she sets the table. She tells me her name

is no longer one lone woman’s name but a chorus

of names: Willa Mae, Alma, Ivy Rowe, Annie Lee,

and, from the attic where she’d waited

throughout my girlhood

for me to sing flesh again onto her bones,

my mute grandmother, trailing me

into the wilds of the Blue Ridge where she had been born,

taking root in the lexicon of wildflowers

blooming on Deep Gap, Kanati, and Siler’s Bald.



No wonder, leaving my father’s black fields,

where the dirt smelled of duty and death

and the sunset burned all the way down to its roots

and let wildfire leap over

the ditches and burn up the sky,

I arrived, not a moment too soon, at the junction

of Thomas Divide and Kanati Fork,

air ripe with bear scat and leafmold.



Or was it because of the windows where every night I watched

the skyfield on fire dying out, cloud by cloud,

into darkness that I came

to this place where sky huddles over the Balsams

and lingers awhile every morning

as mist lifting off the weeds clasping the edges of Cullowhee

Creek? Over thirty years I’ve watched the way

light begins here. It still wakes me up. Lets me be.

Here. Where I am.

6 comments:

Vicki Lane said...

This is gorgeous. You don't need pictures -- they're there in the words.

Susan said...

Wonderful as usual. Welcome to blogging by the way. I'm just starting in this myself. I have to say thanks for the help you gave me at the retreat on my poem about...well, the retreat. And I didn't know you were originally from GA. My husband and I moved up here from the Savannah area. I guess the mountains called and we listened.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Vicki, thanks so much for your good words, both about my poem and about your own work yesterday, and thank you for giving me a plug on your own blog!

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Susan, I'm glad I was able to be of some help while we were at Lake Logan. I wish we could all go back!

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Susan, I'm glad I was able to be of some help while we were at Lake Logan. I wish we could all go back!

Glenda (Writerlady) said...

Hi Kay, Welcome to blogging. It will keep you busy. I'd like to start a personal blog, but would not have the time right now. As usual your writing is beautiful.
Wish I could have been at Lake Logan with you all.
Glenda