Friday, February 27, 2015

One White Hen

My widowed daughter moved to this small farm with her two preschool sons in 1992.
She was given this old horse, Charley, who came with harness and a year's supply of hay.
Here, she is learning to drive him. I don't know the hen's name. 
Look for the younger son who holds onto her skirt.

Miss Lucy Morgan Shows Me a Photograph
of Mrs. Mary Grindstaff Spinning Wool on the High Wheel

Miss Lucy tells that one day
a visitor asked Mrs. Grindstaff
"What are you doing?"

she said, "Spinning."

the tourist said
"Why doesn't it break?"

she said "Because I don't let it."

the charred heart does not break in Appalachia, they
have not let it . . .

the loom hums


Jonathan Williams

The Language They Speak Is Things to Eat;
poems by Fifteen Contemporary North Carolina Poets.
University of North Carolina Press, 1994, page 248.

This is another poem from one of my favorite anthologies. Many of these poets grew up in the old ways or rural living. I chose this poem to go with the photograph above because, later, this young mother raised some sheep and learned to spin and knit. She made wonderful warm and wooly socks, mittens and winter balaclavas for the boys.

Notice that the spoken parts of the poem receive regular capitalization and punctuation. Notice the simple structure of the poem and the use of space. Notice that it's not wordy; it has a short tale,tells it and reaches a conclusion. No padding.

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