Monday, December 13, 2010

Thoughts from a snowed in writer

Once again I apologize for my absence. Family medical reasons have kept me away for longer than I have wanted. I’m working on my book, doing some hiking, and other "stuff" but this morning I’m trapped by the snow, so I have plenty of time for a cup of coffee and a muffin.

Have you seen the news? What’s going on? What have we done to our children? And really, did we need the news to tell us what’s in our faces if we will just look around? Why are they not getting the education they deserve? Why do we have generations of parents who are ok with kids quitting school or going on the dole because they are not encouraged to do anything else?
Why do we supply millions for weapons and nothing to fix the leaks in the schools and have up to date books in the classroom? Or is that billions?

Before you start waving the flag at me, I helped defend that flag, and I vote, so I have a right to speak, and let me be clear, I will defend this country until I am dead and gone. It’s almost Christmas, and why are children starving in this country and without medical assistance? Why are our veterans sleeping under bridges? You don’t see it? Well open your eyes! When I lived in Cincinnati and worked for the utility I regularly saw men sleeping near the big transformers not a mile from the city center. Why, well any science student will tell you that the electricity running through the coils in the transformers produces heat. That is any science student who is still in school. Most homeless men know more about insulation than the typical student.

I know it looks hopeless sometimes, but if everyone who is sick and tired of what we have done to Christmas would just spend a few hours at the homeless center helping, or at the thrift store sorting clothing, the world would be a better place for a few minutes.

A week or so ago I spent time with others, from my church, at the thrift store. I’m not good for much, but I can sort bags of donated clothing, and for a few hours we laughed and talked while we made a small dent in the bags. It’s wonderful to give, but then it takes warm bodies to get the things ready for the store, and listen, nobody is making a profit. The go back to feed the homeless, and a lot of the times the things are given away to the person in need. A little time there and the hope returns.

A country that treats its old people, homeless, and children the way we do needs to be looked at more closely. I don’t know many lawmakers, but I wonder if they would be ashamed if they looked a homeless family in the eyes. I wonder if they have seen the people sleeping on the grates in DC? I know there are good people out there. You know what kind of a person or child you’ve raised when they are willing to feed the homeless or donate a goat before they think about gifts for themselves.

We can turn this country around, by one person caring about another person, and so on.
Well, it’s my blog and I can rant if I want!

I know I’m not alone in this thinking, but I’m snowed in today, and maybe it’s not good to watch too much TV.

I think I have shared this poem with you before, but it seems appropriate. What will your prayers be this holiday season?

Get Up

Get Up
GET UP, you’re thinking about the game anyway.
You’re looking sideways at Janet Thompson’s legs

Get Up
Walk back the aisle. Don’t think about
the stares, the whispers, or the preacher.
Push open the double doors at the back of the sanctuary,
run down the limestone steps, across the flagstone walk,
past the parking lot full of shiny cars, and up the street.

Run to the corner where the old woman
sits on the grate, wipes the snot from her nose,
cracks the snow from her hair.
Walk up to her and beg her forgiveness,
rip your pocket off, and give her all the
money you have.

Just maybe then, you’ll really know what
to pray for, and what the truth is.

Monday, October 25, 2010

October Already!

What a wonderful last few months I’ve had.

It started with the completion of a bucket list item. I had planned a hike across Big Frog Mountain for some time, and the opportunity came along, and my friend Michael and I set out on what would be a few great days of hiking and an opportunity to camp on the top of the mountain. The weather was great with the only set-back being the dry springs after Double Spring Gap, so we had to carry water for the night and the following day until we made it to the base of the mountain and a good stream where we could filter water. I had one sip of water left when we finally found a clear deep place to stock up. I think the count on bears seen or heard was five. The night we spent on the top was highlighted by the coyotes coming into camp and talking among themselves about this intrusion.

My next adventure was a trip to Charleston South Carolina. I’m not shy about what writers I like, and Pat Conroy is one of them. Linda had seen an article in one of her magazines and had cut out the list of his favorite places, so we made it a point to see some of those. We walked south of Broad, and I took pictures of the houses, then we walked between the houses to see some of the hidden gardens there. I hope to find some poems in my notes and pictures this winter. We found the Blue Bicycle, a book store with a wonderful poetry selection. I could have spent the rest of the day there, but after awhile the looks from my traveling companions told me we had to move on. No, really they were very kind when I wanted to brouse or take pictures. Well, they had to be, because I did sit and watch the ladies run through the Straw Market. ( How can two people shop so much and buy so little?) Chalk that up to another difference between men and women. Oh, and I also visited Ft. Sumter. The ride out and the information was great fun. And if you want some of the best seafood, and a great place to eat it, Hyman's is top notch. One big disappointment. I went there mainly to see a ship just like the one I served on, but it was in dry dock, I didn’t get to see it, but heck what a great excuse to go back. Charleston is now officially one of my favorite places.

Last weekend Linda and I went up to Lake Cumberland and stayed at the lodge for the annual meeting of the Kentucky State Poetry Society. I had not seen some of those folks for a few years, and it was wonderful to see them. The highlight of my times with them are the readings in the evenings when we all sit in a circle and read until someone decides to call it a night and we agree. It is fantastic to see the growth and hear the new poems. Like all such societies KSPS is going through a time of member decline. I suspect it will change, but we as older poets need to get the word out that poetry matters.

Well, that’s just about it for an update. I wanted to get my book finished and my audio book completed before the end of October, but it was a good summer and fall, and I’ve collected some ideas that I think will grow into a poem or two. I hope you have also. The trees have turned here in the mountains, and while I don’t look forward to winter, I do look forward to putting words on paper and seeing what they become.

Guess you can tell it has been a good few months, by the number of "greats" I have used in this writing. Forgive me!

I’ve been working on this poem for some time, and after I left Charleston it came together for me. Maybe it will be longer, or maybe not.


What if there was a day
Long after I had seen you,
and you had come closer
Long after I realized it wasn’t an hallucination

After you had let me touch your hair,
We both realized it wasn’t the siren song, but love
That brought us back to the water’s edge.

Then with the kiss
The knowing that one would need to make the sacrifice
Knowing that the pain of the transformation
Could never be as bad as the separation.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm Back!

The picture for this month is me at the Gannett Poplar. How cool is that? It’s an old growth tree not far from where I live in North Georgia. The bark is full of moss from hundreds of years of watching people go up the trail. Just standing near it is special and magical. I know there are bigger trees in the U.S. but this was a great moment in a hike a friend and I did not very long ago.

So much has happened since we talked last. Once again I am saddened that we cannot communicate on a real time basis because of some people who would take advantage of my being away. It’s hard thinking about security when all I wanted to do when I started this blog was to share with you. But those in the know tell us to not communicate in real time if we are away from home.

My friend Marty’s mother passed last month. I drove over to Little Rock to attend the service for her. The place was packed. She was a weaver, and her and her husband Perk were bird watchers all their lives, and for many years banded hummingbirds at their home in Arkansas. She was a woman who encouraged her children and others to dream dreams and to be who they wanted to be. I will miss her smile, but I know one thing, there are a lot of people who are better because of her.

Two things have happened with my writing. I joined a poetry critique group here in North Georgia. I like my group in Blue Ridge, but I needed a group who concentrated on poetry alone, and where I didn’t have to be the leader. It’s a good group, and they keep me on my toes.
The other thing I did was to accept an invitation to attend the quarterly meeting of the Georgia Poetry Society. I traveled to a college south of here, and it was a very good meeting. I was able to read, and was welcomed. I was impressed with the speakers, and they revealed this year’s anthology, “The Reach of Song.” A beautiful book. It is a collection where the poems are judged, and the works are a joy to read. I liked what I saw at the meeting, and am considering joining. The trouble is that the meetings are held throughout the state, and the travel time is a problem from up here in the mountains.

I have been writing. Just sent a dozen or so poems to the lady who edits for me. If you don’t have a person who will read your work, and who will edit for you and will be honest about it, then you need to look around. You will be a much better writer if you have a person like that. Critique groups help me a lot, but having a person who is not a writer and has fresh eyes has really helped me through the years.

I’m also working on my audio book, and hope to have it done by the time I attend the Kentucky Poetry Society meeting this year.

I did want to say something here about my cousin Clay. He has been sick for a month or so now, and will be entering treatment soon. He and I have spent some special times in high mountain steams together, and I believe we will again.

So, since I wrote this a few weeks ago I have been working on the book, and have decided to call it “Air Swimmer.” Well, that’s my first thought. I’ve also decided that I might submit it to a contest first. I really like the poems in it, and I think I have grown since my last book. They are different, but I’m getting less afraid of what I write, and am stepping out with some new things from old notes I’ve had for years. So, I’ll put one of the poems here, and see what you think.
Here’s the first draft of the title poem.

Air Swimmer

I see a far off day
When I will lift myself
Up on tip-toes
Push back and down
With my hands
And fly

Just as easy as that the air
Will hold me aloft
In a room a little bigger than this
I will fly

By myself at first
Because I wouldn’t want
Disbelievers to break the magic
Of the moment or dirty the
Pure joy I feel

When I finally get the courage
to go out, the children will say
Why can this old man swim in the air
Call like a Red Tailed hawk
And we can’t?

When I see them gathered far below
I will come down, collect them around
me and whisper the truth of it

Tell them not to be afraid

Robert W. Kimsey 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thoughts From the Middle of a Stream

When I was an artist I learned quickly what more experienced artists had learned early in their careers.

If you’re away from your art for a week or so you realize that the edge has gone. The lines no longer echo the confidence they did before. Even if others don’t see it, you do. If you stay away for much longer it becomes harder to find the path back, and after a year, well, chances are you won’t go back at all. The duties of life fill the void you’ve opened, and all you’re left with is the craving for something lost.

I’ve seen writers take that same road to oblivion. Always hoping to get back, but just never finding the time.

I’ve seen it happen in the writers group. A person will visit, full of enthusiasm, and when they read the group is in admiration of the story line, or the powerful words coming out of the poems. Three or so months later they may have added a few lines, or fallen into what Natalie Goldberg calls “Monkey Mind,” and are reshaping the idea until it is watered down and dying. A month later they may have nothing to share, and then they are gone.

There are others who are on fire at the meeting, and they disappear also, but when you see them in the coffee shop they speak of the book being at the publishers, and it is always a time for celebration. They have been home writing.

I know life gets in the way of writing, but that’s not what I’m talking about. For the last few days I’ve been in the woods cutting down trees and clearing the brush so I can at least see the bears before they arrive on the porch for a picnic. I've also been in the mountains discovering new paths. That’s just the way it is, but the poem, the story, the rhythm of words is always with me, and even when I’m tired they call to me. I hope they call to you also.

We live in a woulda, shoulda, coulda world. I have friends who are fighting to get their first chapbook out at the ages of 70 and 80. Don’t keep your poems and stories a secret. Send something to a friend today, and share your heart with them. I pray you’ll find the time. I have seen only a few of my mother’s poems. I am told as her Alzheimer’s progressed she would read them, then tear them up as he sat and wept. They are lost forever. Don’t let that happen.

PS I apologize for the misspellings in a few of my blogs. That’s what I get for posting them from Starbucks and not doing any editing, or letting the computer do it for me. I’ll try and do better. That’s why I have a college professor friend who edits my poems before I submit them. Nobody ever claimed this Kentucky boy was a good spuller!

PSS I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that tomorrow is my anniversary. My wife and I have been friends since we were 7 years old. I have always loved her, and she continues to love me even though I can be a real turd sometimes. She is my conscience, and if I haven’t done any writing for awhile, she steers me back, or reminds me of who I wanted to be when I grew up.

White Passion, Black Joy

I remember a green Volkswagen
white passion steaming windows
on a dark October night.

Your angora sweater
turning my uniform into
a horse hair rug.

After all these years
I see your Father’s face,
smile fading in the light.

Black joy on
a cold October

It Must Be Hard

It must be hard to give me the love I demand.
That yearning to catch up for an empty past.

You must be exhausted fighting off demons I resurrect,
and holding my hand to calm the winds of panic.

I hope my love is enough to give you strength.
It’s all I have.

Robert W. Kimsey

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Quiet Time

Last week I hiked Cloudland in NW Georgia.

I have never been there before, and it was a beautiful day for a long walk.

My friend Mike and I arrived around ten in the morning, and decided to see the waterfalls first thing. Hiking into the canyon was a new experience, and hiking out showed my heart was ok. Poor Mike. He is so used to going a little faster, and I’m just easing along, looking at wildflowers, trying to spot birds and eating blueberries.

My dreams take shape when I’m walking with a pack on my back. I tell myself stories and compose poems. I look up at God’s glory and praise him for what he has done for me. Don’t be alarmed, it’s ok, all of us old guys talk to ourselves.

I look at some of the people I know and I am sorry for them. They are never alone. Are never able to slow down, think about what has been and what will be. Even when I worked in the city as the world closed in on me I’d walk the length of the main street and back, gathering my thoughts and flaking off the stress. Are people afraid of being alone?

Friends from the city are amazed that we moved to a cabin on a dirt road, and spend great amounts of time doing what we love. Alone.

If you write I hope you give yourself the time to dream dreams and make up stories. Sometimes the process of writing, editing and submitting is overwhelming, and we have to make ourselves sit still and remember what it was like when it all started and we listened to the stories at they formed in us, and how exciting that was.

I hope one of the blessings you receive this week is some quiet time.

What He Wants

Sometimes he just wants to live long enough to fulfill promises made,
and to hear, “I forgive you,” for falling short.

Sometimes he just wants his body and mind to hold out as long as the journey takes.

Sometimes he just wants to hang prayer flags from the trees,
believing his God hears and sees all.

Sometimes he just wants to stand again and feel the same swelling in his heart
that was there when he first saw the great mountains.

Sometimes he believes a thousand years has passed,
and this is just a dream.
Robert W. Kimsey

Monday, May 31, 2010

Days With Family

My family, from the north, visited last week. It was a wonderful week, and the little girls enjoyed our outings to the river where they collected rocks. Well, at least one did, the other little girl just liked her feet in the cool water.

The time was good for me because I was able to get all the baby kisses I needed, and I was also able to spend some time with my son. He is a chef in the city, has a pretty hectic life, and wanted to slow down and be on some high trails while they were here.

One of the days we were able to get out we packed a day pack and headed for Springer Mountain. My son wants to hike some on the Appalachian Trail, and I thought it would be a good place where he could get a taste of what it would be like. What better place to start than a climb to the plaque at the southern terminus of the 2167 mile trail. It was a good hike, making me wish I was in better shape, but I didn’t die, and that’s a good thing. It was a gorgeous day, and I could see the beautiful North Georgia Mountains curving toward the horizon.

We wanted to test out some meals, so we went to the Springer Shelter and set up our stoves for lunch, and then it was back down the rocky path to the car and home.

Every father dreams dreams of what his children will be when they grow up. I don’t remember what mine were. I guess I just prayed I wouldn’t screw up my part of the story. As I watched my Son ahead of me on the trail, I realized that he was much more than I prayed for. He is a good man, a wonderful father, provider and a faithful Christian. He has written a much better story than I could have written for him. The way it should be.


I skim the stone bowl,
Scoop the dregs away.
Watch the spring clear itself.
Remembering a time when
I could drink freely
Taste the coolness after the climb.

I watch the downhill seep
Knowing that days from now
It will join with darker waters
Down there in the world.

And so will I.

Robert W. Kimsey

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's Been a Long Month

Maybe I’m different from most bloggers, but when I started this adventure into the electronic world I was hoping for a large community to care about what I wrote and the poems I shared. I know that is true about most of you who come and sit on the porch with me, you do care, and I thank you for being my friends and readers.
It is a real shame that one of the things that has grown out of this type of sharing is that we must always be thinking about security, as we write. That’s just the way of the world I’m afraid.

For example, I can’t share with you in “real time” the events of the day. I couldn’t tell you that I am in the hospital only that I was. I couldn’t tell you that I was in Pennsylvania only that I was. If we are responsible to our families and friends we must always be reporters of what was.

Betty C. Stamper 1927-2010
My Mother passed away a week or so ago. She had been fighting Alzheimer’s and diabetes for seven years, and finally she couldn’t hold on any longer. I didn’t get to see her much, and when I went there last year and she didn’t know me I had gone through a period of mourning at that time. The creative parts of me are from her. She was a very accomplished artist, working mainly in oil. Her paintings of flowers were a major part of the service last week. Her landscapes were beautiful and full of light. In later years she had a stroke, and holding a brush was harder for her than holding a pencil, so she switched to colored pencil, and drew some remarkable portraits. She was always encouraging and proud when we talked about my time in art school and my membership in the Cincinnati Art Club.

My Mother was also a very good poet and writer, and I hope to share some of her poems with you in the future. She had lived in a number of other countries, and told colorful stories about her times there. She is survived by 3 brothers and a sister, and the other day in a local restaurant the brothers started telling stories, about the 37 flood, swimming the river in happier times, and what a tom boy my Mother was, and I knew that she was there sharing in the laughter.
I loved her, and will miss her.

Heaven’s Door

I wonder how long it is
before the dead forget
what they have left.

Cut off from us,
can they look through the keyhole,
a limited view down the corridor
they just walked that last time?

And do they crowd around,
some pushing and shoving for a look back
that’s always the same?
Dark hall, doors on each side,
the single bulb that guided them here,

while others that remember
the stories of elders
the dreams of parents,
writings in holy books
turn around,

and see their families
waving from the top of the hill.

Robert W. Kimsey

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Trip North

I was in Cincinnati last week. Drove up for a few reasons. I was unable to go a month ago because of my shoulder, and I needed a baby fix. I also wanted to test out some backpacking equipment with my son.

The girls are really growing, and the little one was so funny. When I held her and kissed her on the head she would look at me and lean over for more. Melts the heart! Both girls were just a joy.
The day hiking went well. The wild flowers were blooming, and the trail along the lake was clear. The hill trail had not been cleaned off, so going over the blow downs were a problems.

Went by the old neighborhood, and saw the house where I lived. Looked smaller than I remember.

Not much to tell, so I’ll share some pictures, and a poem I wrote about when, like all boys, I couldn’t wait to grow up.


Most days in the city
I’d look out the window at
the chain link fence
in the back yard.

It seemed to be
a few feet away.
My own stalag.
The end of the world.

So I’d bang the keys
on the old Royal,
escaping into the
white paper.

Tastes that had not been tasted.
Seas that had not been sailed.
Loss that had not been lost.

Sitting there I’d wait
and wait, for life to catch up
to my dreams.

Robert W. Kimsey

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

City Thoughts

I drove out of the mountains on Monday for a few days back in the city. While I was having my shoulder problems the wife made the trip and was able to do some business and get baby kisses, and I was jealous, so I decided I needed to head out for a few days.

Each time I get close on these trips I break out in a cold sweat as the traffic closes in, and the noise level increases. When I worked in the heart of the city it wasn’t that bad, and I liked the excitement of it all, but I guess I have been in the mountains to long.

So, on the agenda for today is to see some co-workers, spend some time at the book store, and of course have my chi at the Starbucks where I spent many a morning working on poems.

Have a wonderful day. Here’s a poem, and maybe it will get you to thinking about what it would be like to drive through your old neighborhood.

Arbor Day Trees

I ride through the old neighborhood
seeing the Arbor Day trees.
All mature, like the children
who carried them home
wrapped in newspaper, like a trophy
dug their beds with small hands
watered them that first time.

Both had bright futures ahead.

I see the sickness in some branches,
others only a stump, cut down before full grown.
Some dead inside, still trying to reach the sun,
while some thrive in the city on little soil
and stretch across the concrete canyon,
over parked cars, touching,
like the forgotten children, holding hands
listening for echoing voices in the wind
playing Hide and Seek on quiet summer nights.

Ollie Ollie in come free.

Robert W. Kimsey 2009

Friday, April 9, 2010

Waiting and Praying

If you know what the picture to the right is, then you probably have done some caving, or you know a family member who worked in the mines.

In the old days this type of carbide lamp was used on a hat. Water was put in the top portion, and carbide was held in another part of the lamp. The water dripping caused a chemical reaction, a gas was formed, and a striker ignited it for light.

I saw my lamp in the wood shop yesterday, and then thought of the miners dead and trapped in West Virginia. I know that you will join me in prayers for them and their families. As of today they have checked one safe place without finding the remaining miners, and are drilling another shaft to insert a camera.

My heart goes out to the families, and my prayers are for their comfort and that more lives will be saved.

You may have read this poem before, but I think it is appropriate for today and this time.

Hard Lessons

Daddy said the first day on the job you learn the rules.

If your lunch bucket gets left topside you’re out of luck
unless the next team brings it down, and if the roof starts
to fall, YOU RUN. You run like Billy-be-damned for daylight.
You don’t stop for nothin.

You run like the devil hisself is breathing that cold, damp,
black air down your neck. You run for the shaft
or the outside as fast as you can.

If you ain’t used up all your luck and you make it to daylight
then you can turn around and look who’s behind you, then
you wait for the count and see who’s not.

That day the bell-rock almost got Daddy, blowed his hat off,
he come home after the siren, stood in the door of our house
on the Big Sandy, white eyes staring from his black face.

Then he come over to me and slapped me hard.
I could see the tears makin creeks on his cheeks,
and he pointed his finger at me and whispered,
”Dammit Boy, you ain’t never goin in a mine.”

Robert W. Kimsey

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Whew! I'm Back.

I feel like the keys are falling off!

Most of you that tag along on Face book know what kind of month I’ve had. Just when I thought it was getting better Ol’ Man Winter stuck out his foot and tripped me good. I was coming down a set of concrete steps in town, hit a patch of ice and went airborne.

I hit square on the edge of the top step, in a line across my shoulder blades. After I recovered my breath and a trip to the ER, I was told I had damaged the muscles and bruised the bone in my left shoulder. I have slept the last few weeks sitting up, when I could sleep, took some pretty heavy meds, and prayed not to cough or sneeze.

I’m much better now, and have been working on some poems and my mystery. Had to get off the meds before I could write anything that anybody could understand. Don’t know why anybody would want to live life in a haze if they didn’t have to.

Anyway, I am looking at the blog, and trying to figure out how I can make it better. Maybe it needs to be more about living here with writing thrown in, but who cares really? I don’t know, we all change, and maybe there is a life and changes for this sort of outlet. I don’t know, but we’ll see how it works out together.

I’ll be updating my side bars soon, and adding some shortcuts to some friends and writers.
I'll also have a new poem for you soon.
Glad you stayed around. Thank You.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday in the Mountains

Ok, no more whining. Considering what the people on the east coast are going through, the little snow I have received this year is nothing. Hope you all stay warm and safe until this is all over. I have been cleaning my office for the last few days while I get over some kind of crud in my chest. Guess it is going around here because everyone I see has had it. Spring and some warm weather should fix that.

Valentine’s day is upon us again, and I think I warned you guys last year at this time, so let this be a word to the wise. GET TO THE CARD SHOP!

Great Backyard Bird Count is this weekend, so hope to get out and do some counting. The Dark Eyed Juncos and Purple Finches are in great abundance just now, and the loons are back on the lake, so maybe we’ll see something special over the few days of the count.

I’m working on the blog today. Need to add some friends to the side bar, and update with some new looks over the next week.

I’ve been reading some of my old poetry magazines before donating them to the group, and am looking at some of my older poems in the hopes that I can finish them to my satisfaction this year.

I’m rethinking it all, and would love to have some of your things, and if you have a book out, I’d be thrilled to include an excerpt and where people can buy it. Just send what you want considered to me at robtkzga at bellsouth dot net.

So not much discussion on writing today, but I do have a poem to share. During a writing group exercise we were given the word Chocolate, so here is what I came up with. Have a wonderful weekend.



The child still remembers

The first taste

After cheese and peanut butter

From the government,

And garden fare.

Mama’s wash money

For an extravagance.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Snowed In

Last Friday we headed out 60 for the town of Dahlonega Georgia. That’s where the eastern gold rush took place, and is a delightful tourist town in the mountains. A great place to walk through the shops, get lunch, and when friends come to visit, to take them to the Gold Museum.
On the way I wanted to see where the Benton Mackaye trail crosses the road, and I wanted to visit Woody Gap where my son and I would get on the Appalachian Trail for our hike to Springer Mountain.
So we’re in this little deli on the square across from the museum eating some delicious chicken noodle soup, and the sky started to get very dark. Then on the way to the car it started to rain, and by the time we get to our shortcut home, it was sleet on the windshield. When we crossed Bushy Head Gap and dropped into Cashes Valley there was an inch of snow on the ground, and for the next 4 hours it piled 5 inches on us. So we were snowed in for the next few days. I really did come south to get away from that, but moved to the Blue Ridge, so no use to whine about it.
We spent the weekend quilting (not me) and writing. Of course the dog loved it. She got pure joy trying to find a tennis ball under the white stuff.
There were also sinister forces in the cabin with us. One of the days I was writing, transferring my notes from yellow pad to computer, all kinds of error messages started appearing, and weird things jumped about on the screen. I freaked! Quickly I backed up all my data. So a few days later I made it in to town, and visited the computer wizard. Shortly he called and told me my computer had the "click of death." YIKES! I kind of felt like I had it also after hearing his diagnosis.
Well, Linda and I headed to the computer store 80 miles away after stopping at the Ellijay Starbucks, and I am trying to get my writing programs loaded on a new laptop. I had the old laptop for 7 years, and it was a good and faithful friend…sniff. But it’s my tool, just like a horse to a cowboy I guess, so had to do the deed and find the cash. Good news is that I had backed up all of my poems and stories, so let that be a warning to you.
The poem I’m going to share with you today is one I worked on for two years, and finally a chemistry professor named Sam gave me the one word I couldn’t find for myself. That’s why I love to share with others. It makes me a better poet.
See you soon.


Lies flow through a family like mercury
poured out in droplets, each converging
into the other, a creeping, rolling capsule.

They pour into the soul of a child,
there to condense on the tongue.
Then the man sees the eyes of the child
flashing mercury pools,
and recognizes himself.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Update to Start the Year

Don’t pay the ransom, I’ve escaped!
Yes, it has been a long time since I’ve been here. Well, I have checked if you’ve left any comments, but time seemed to get away from me, and now it has been over a month.

Had a wonderful time holding babies and being with family during Christmas. Had a good trip back, and then the cold weather came and stayed with us for an eternity. Then it snowed, and I really don’t mean to whine, because others also got dumped on by the white stuff, but it’s my blog, and I can bellyache if I want to.

I was snowed in for three days, and finally I couldn’t stand it anymore, so one Sunday when they closed church, I called the Starbucks 30 miles away and asked if they were open, put the jeep in 4-wheel drive and headed to town.

Another project we had in January was the Christmas Bird Count. It’s great fun, but on the day we had it the temperature started at 10 and went to 27. No rain or snow though, and we had over 20 people counting in the circle. The final tally was 72 species and 3172 birds. Didn’t think it was a bad day until I read the report from my friend in Louisiana. It’s all about citizen science, and if you want to learn more, just visit the Audubon site. Next bird count is the Great Backyard Bird Count in February. Maybe we won’t freeze our behinds on that one.

Well, you can see that I didn’t mention any writing in that time period. I thought about that a lot, and that was ok, but I needed something to get me back to it, so last week I headed up to the John C. Campbell Folk School. The school is located in North Carolina, and I’ve been there three or four times now. The leader of the class was a poet from PA. His name is Gene Hirsch, and he is a wonderful person and writes some beautiful poetry. The class was small, with Gene, Sam, Rob, Sandy, Linda and myself. Most of them had been writing for years, so the discussions were concentrated on the role of form, title, and such. By the end of each day I was exhausted and totally happy. I asked for help with a number of poems I had been working on for a few years. I was happy with the comments, and after all, suggestions are just that, so you toss them over and see what the changes will do to your poem, use some, and get rid of the rest.

It was advanced week at the school, so the eating times were full of discussion about the classes. The blacksmiths were there, the potters, painters, bakers, jewelry makers and others. The class I spent time walking through was the book binding class. The instructor had some examples of books with wooden covers, and the students were building their own. They were just fantastic, ancient looking and I could just see them containing a poem or photos.

So friends, I’m back, looking at what I’ve written and what I want to share. I’ll be back in a few days with some notes from the school, and maybe something to share. My writer’s group is this week so I need to work on my talk for them and find something to read. I’ll be busy for a few days.

BTW, I’ve been thinking about doing some backpacking this year. My son wants me to do some of the AT, Appalachian Trail with him, and I want to do the 300 miles of the BMT, Benton Mackaye Trail. I have done some of the AT, but I was younger and prettier then haha. If I can get my old self out of a chair, maybe I can work both dreams out. I’ll keep you informed.
See you soon.