Well, I’ve been working on the problem of having my poems available to you in an audio file. Maybe I’ve got it worked out.
The poem I’m sharing with you is called Southern Trail. It’s about the road where I lived in Kentucky. For hundreds of years the road had been a trail leading south from the Shawnee Indian lands in Southern Ohio, and continuing on toward the Cherokee lands in Tennessee.
Before I was born the trail had become a road into Kellen Hollow. Many years ago I read about the spring at the mouth of the hollow where a group of men were camped and attacked by the Shawnee with only one escaping.
My Grandfather built our house over that spring. The names of the people in the poem will not be known to many who do not know the history of that region. A wonderful book about that area is called, The Frontiersman by Allan W. Eckert. The three men mentioned were the heroes of the Ohio Valley, where I grew up.
Today the house is gone, the road has been paved, and the name has been changed. The only thing that remains is the Shawnee Spring, still coming from the hillside, still cool and clear.
the Kellen Hollow road,
my first steps there, dirty feet
on the way to the sycamore tree.
The Shawnee Spring had been there,
will be for another thousand years I suspect.
A resting place for Indian and white men
all. Was my first bath and drink,
joining their numbers.
Tecumseh, Kenton, Tygart,
all walked this way along the great trail.
I am just a poet, of no import,
but as a child, and as a man
I have always hoped that I would
someday meet them there
beside that dusty trail.