Friday, February 13, 2015

Family History

This is a scan of the third of four pages from a Family Bible that looks like it fell apart long ago.
It begins with my Great-grandfather William Anderson Hopper, born 1834. He fought in the Civil War on the losing side. My father, Jack Hicks Hopper, is the last name on this page, below the decorative frame; his birth year, 1906, is missing where the corner has chipped off the page. My brother, with his large family, has custody of these treasures now.


The top 
grain on the peak
weighs next
to nothing and,
by a mountain,
has no burden,
but nearly
ready to float,
to summer wind,
it endures
the rigors of having
no further
figure to complete
and a 
blank sky
to guide its dreaming

A. R. Ammons
The Language They Speak Is Things to Eat; poems by 15 contemporary North Carolina poets, Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1994, page 21.

A. R. Ammons is a master of the very short line. Notice that this poem has only a few commas and does not end with a period. There are lines with only one or two words. This poet was recommended to me by my brother, Robert, in the year or so before he died. Rob was very fond of Ammons' book-length poem, Garbage, which is about that subject, I was delighted to find him in this regional anthology.

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