Welcome to another Monday poetry review here at Bluebell.
Toady's poem is intense and gritty and "of the earth". A perfect compliment to the time of year when many of us are digging around in a garden or perhaps a pot or two of flowers.
The title is: Wildwood Flower by Kathryn Stripling Byer
Byer was raised on a farm in Southwest Georgia, where the material for much of her first poetry originated. She graduated from Wesleyan College, Macon, Georgia, with a degree in English literature,
She lives in the mountains of western North Carolina and served for five years as North Carolina's first woman poet laureate.
Ever wondered what exactly is a poet laureate?
First, lets take a look at that curious word "laureate"
In ancient time Bay laurel was used to fashion the laurel wreath of ancient Greece, a symbol of highest status. A wreath of bay laurels was given as the prize at the Pythian Games because the games were in honor of Apollo and the laurel was one of his symbols.
It is also the source of the words baccalaureate and poet laureate, as well as the expressions "assume the laurel" and "resting on one's laurels".
So, a poet laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government or conferring institution, who is often expected to compose poems for special events and occasions.
I learned something new, how about you?
So without further ado,
by Kathryn Stripling Byer
I hoe thawed ground
with a vengeance. Winter has left
my house empty of dried beans
and meat. I am hungry
and now that a few buds appear
on the sycamore, I watch the road
winding down this dark mountain
not even the mule can climb
without a struggle. Long daylight
and nobody comes while my husband
traps rabbits, chops firewood, or
walks away into the thicket. Abandoned
to hoot owls and copperheads,
I begin to fear sickness. I wait
for pneumonia and lockjaw. Each month
I brew squaw tea for pain.
In the stream where I scrub my own blood
from rags, I see all things flow
down from me into the valley.
Once I climbed the ridge
to the place
where the sky
comes. Beyond me the mountains continued
like God. Is there no place to hide
from His silence? A woman must work
else she thinks too much. I hoe
this earth until I think of nothing
but the beans I will string,
the sweet corn I will grind into meal.
We must eat. I will learn
to be grateful for whatever comes to me.
If you enjoy this poets work you will want to check out her latest book of poetry.
See you next time here at Bluebell.
Till then, keep reading and writing beautiful poetry!