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Appalachian Lullaby
unknown

The birthday girl is fifteen today,
 1
the family gathered for the celebration -
 2
barefoot children play while women
 3
twist the heads off chickens, boil water,
 4
prepare to pluck while the men
 5
play banjo music and familiar
 6
mountain songs fill the air.
 7
 
 
Grandmothers rub her strawberry-ripe belly,
 8
make predictions of boy or girl,
 9
but her eyes are fixed on her young husband
 10
who sits alone on a step, smoking
 11
a handrolled cigarette.
 12
 
 
Later, in the back room that is
 13
their private world, she clings to him
 14
like a lonely pine desperately rooted
 15
on a precipice, her eyes the color
 16
of their mountains, crumbling and ancient.
 17
 
 
He dreams of his uncles' black lungs
 18
and dark holes in the ground,
 19
she dreams of learning to read
 20
before her baby comes.
 21

Dedicated to my sister, who works to help mountain people learn to read and who raises money to buy books so every child has at least one of their own.

28 Aug 09

Rated 7.3 (7.8) by 6 users.
Active (6): 9, 9, 10
Inactive (2): 1, 1, 9, 9, 10

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Comments:

There is so much in here that is good, but the third stanza stopped my breath. I have minor nits with some of the pacing and tone, but they are very minor indeed and hardly worth bringing up.
 — Ananke

wow, imagery is moving and well made -- the shows up too many times in the first strophe which dulls your bright crystals of words -- the use of conflicting imagery makes this shine twice as bright -- well writ Poet
 — AlchemiA

I agree with Ananke.  Poignant imagery, I quite literally saw this scene play out before my eyes as I read.  There are a few places it could be tightened up, but as already said, minor and hardly worth bringing up.  I really like how you've illustrated both hope and fear in the last stanza.
 — sybarite

Thank you all for the kind words.
 — unknown

Ditto all the previous comments.
 — Redlander

it was like a short movie.great!
 — eve

The images in this are fabulous and true-to-life. I can smell the Smokey Mountains, taste the quisine, hear the music.  I agree with Ananke, the third stanza is the power in this wouderful write.  Thank you for sharing, poet.
 — PaulS

Thanks a bunch, you guys.
 — unknown

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