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.




Saturday, February 6, 2010

SNOW ON THE MOUNTAINS


SNOW BREATH

Snow on the mountains.
Where did the wind go? I stand with my shawl
wrapped around me and listen.

Snow on the mountains.
The holly-pip red as a blood blister,
thorns reaching out to me.

Snow on the mountains.
Don't beg me to come back inside
lest I catch my death.

Snow on the mountains.
The river a hard road to travel.
My feet slide on ice cobble.

Snow on the mountains.
Gone south, I will say when you shout
from the riverbank.

Snow on the mountains.
Against my ear you held a conch shell once,
ask What do you hear?

So much snow on the mountains,
I hitched up my dress and ran home.
How could I tell you then,

hearing snow on the mountains
refuse to melt, that after so long,
a woman's soul searching

through snow on the mountains
will sink, out of breath, in the silence
of nothing more, nothing less.

From Black Shawl, LSU Press, written in response to an ancient Welsh poem, composed between the 9th and 12th centuries, in which the line "Snow On the Mountains" is repeated throughout.

8 comments:

Evening Light Writer said...

This is so marvelous! Thank you for posting it. I don't know why I kept hearing that old Left Frizell song "Long Black Veil" in my head afterwards. Maybe the image of a woman in a shawl?

Charlotte said...

Amazing how timeless the truly elemental things are. This is a lovely poem, Kay.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Thank you both! Oh yes, my dear Evening Light Writer, you are on the money about "Long Black Veil." That song has haunted me for many years and I finally got a poem out of it. Maybe I will post it eventually. It was published in the gender issue of the e-zine poemeleon.
And Charlotte, so good to see youall bundled up on my blog. The temperature is dropping here, but no snow, thank goodness.

Glenda Council Beall said...

Great poem, Kathryn, and love the repeated line. Is this a certain form or did you just repeat the line because you wanted to do so?
I haven't written about the snow, but I took many photos.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Lovely, and plaintive...

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Glenda, it's an old Welsh form from the 9th century and is considered gnomic poetry. The poem I was working from had that same repeating line---I stole it!

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Hi Kathryn, so good to have you drop by---I often hear a plaintive tone in much mountain women's talk and work, at the same time I also hear strength and the "root hog or die" tone. Fascinating.

jessie carty said...

i knew this was familiar! perhaps because i picked up a copy of Black Shawl when you read at CPCC a few years back :)