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.




Monday, January 12, 2009

WINTER SUNSETS




Spring House

If anyone asked me what faith is,
I’d say it’s an empty cup
waiting for water that flows down
the mountain in hollow logs velvet
with lichen of many years’
clinging and into this trough
carved from hickory.
Milk never clabbers here.
Sweet nubbins never rot.
Blackberry wine keeps the first autumn chill
when I lift it out,
suddenly thirsty for something beyond
a slow trickle of water
that slackens in drought-time
to nothing. The hours I’ve sat in this corner
and scarcely breathed, keeping so still
I could hear what the earth
hears, the deepest roots
trembling. Sometimes I trembled myself,
all of one terrible day
I spent bathing my daughter’s limbs
burning with fever. For God had gone
elsewhere, the two of us left
to our last night together, the longest
of any dark. If I should bury my hands
in this water-trough, they would turn cold
as her fingers I held until morning came.
Cold as the stone they laid over her.
I made the men chisel into it,
"What the lord Taketh,
He must give back again."
Nobody understood.
Dust unto dust,
they rebuked me.
But how could I live not believing
the dust I see lifted from fields is what’s left
of her shaking her petticoat after she’d dug
the potatoes. It’s dust I’ve been told
makes the gloaming sky even now
crimson with sun so that I see this water
turn wine for the instant
I hold out my empty cup.

from Lost Soul, forthcoming

9 comments:

James Hogan said...

Oh, Kay, this is absolutely stunning. I love it.

Nancy Simpson said...

Kay, this is so powerful it makes me tremble.


When will Lost Soul come to us?

Vicki Lane said...

This is wonderful -- magnificent! What a perfect image! Is Lost Soul a series of poems connected to this woman?

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Hello my dears, thank you for your genersous comments! I've no idea when Lost Soul will appear. LSU pr. is not interested, as it's a combo of poetry & short fiction. Yes, Vicki, LS is a series of women's voices. Not only this one.

Glenda said...

This will be another of your wonderful books to add to my collection.
Love this poem. Thanks for sharing it and the sunset photo.

Luciana said...

Kathryn, this is a beautiful image, full of wisdom and experience.I connect a lot to nature because I can feel it inside of me.Your poem went straight to that feeling.

Jane said...

I'm so stunned by this poem. I almost feel like Alma is speaking again. So fine.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Jane, thank you for your comment. I feel humbled. This is such an old poem. Sometimes I fear my best work is behind me.

Jane said...

I seriously doubt that. I think we need to revisit our voices just to see what they have to say in the present. They may still want to speak.