... poetry ...

Songs of the South

Song 1 – The Dark Sister

The Dark Sister

it’s a sinister tale
one of fear and woe

we show it to close
friends every now and then
when they come for tea

we hide in the tall
bushes and watch them
come

we are greedy and rotten
with teeth showing
and sweaty temples

they come day after day
for our tea
and we mean to kill them

her name is Lucia
hey hair is dark – her skin grainy
her voice is low and long

pouring from her mouth
like warm oil
it drips from her chin

she sits with us
in the tall bushes
waiting for family and friends

waiting to devour them
her nails grow straight
and her feet are bare

i once loved her and
she me

***********************
see the long-beaked bird?
he runs and runs and runs
there is blood on his old
white feathers, trickling
from his broken bill.

***********************

it’s a sinister tale
one of fear and woe

i would share it with you
were you my kin
living in poverty with me

they came one night
adorned in white
and crackling torches

they carried her off
her long nails digging
into the muddy soil

her voice was cracked and
broken, like scaly pine
bark

they tied her to the tree
and anguish became real
to each of us

and now they come
they come again for our tea
and i mean to kill them

her body was flying
to and fro, from the old
rope, from the old oak

i’m the one who found her
and cut her down
i buried her near the thrush pond

***********************
see the long-beaked bird?
her feathers a long deity
her eyes see me and i her
eyes of my dark sister
***********************
it’s a sinister tale
one of fear and woe

they came for the tea
and i was upon them
in my lashing and thrashing
i felt her go free

as each gasped his last
i felt her flying farther and farther away

it’s a sinister tale
one of fear and woe
and now you know it
and now you are kin

Song 2 – Wilbur Orleans Wyatt

Wilbur Orleans Wyatt
1871 – 1969
Blackburn, Mississippi

The crooked, dusty road went on for miles and miles
Just past a fork, there were a stone wall
`tween the wall there were a crooked, dusty path
down that path were a crooked shack
before that shack there were a porch
up on the porch, there were a rockin chair
and in that chair, there an old man

His feet is bare. Like the day he was born
in Blackburn, Mississippi
Civil war had ended but these
Mississippi creeks still ran red
Some habits die hard, they die real hard

His feet is tired, and bruised, walked enough
In dusty fields and on dusty roads and on dusty paths
To circle the earth, but he never left Blackburn

His legs are frail and thin, not the same legs
That hauled, and lifted, and ran, and knelt
These legs was old. Good for sittin and for holding up pants

His body was slumped and painful to see
His breath heaved in heavy, rotten breaths – his chest
Is sunken and covered in spoiled gray hairs
Not the same chest that hauled, and lifted, and ran, and knelt
This chest is old. Good for keeping the heart off the road.

His arms don’t move. A cow fly lands on his skin
And searches for a morsel. Regurgitating and slurpin the way
Only a cow fly can. He soon leaves, nothing to eat here.
Nothing but poor, old skin

His eyes is shut. They don’t see no how.
His mouth hangs open and a little drop of drool
Finds a spark of sunshine before falls from his
Cracked lips. Lips that sang, hollered, shouted, and cried.
Now they just hold the few teeth that is left.

His hands are shriveled and still
Hands that hauled, and lifted, and pulled, pulled, pulled
He stirs a bit and remembers pulling, pulling a cart
Pulling, a wagon, pulling cotton, pulling that rope off his
Neck after his hands killed the ghosts

A smile stretches across that old face
And his chest goes still

It’s 1969 and no one watches him die

The fly returns and sizzles its wings around his head
Landing on his shoulder, he goes to work

It’s 1969 and that creek’s as red as ever
Some habits die hard.

Song 3 – The South

Darkness fades into a gray misty sheet
On the quiet South Georgian plain.
A red oven rises through the damp
Thick air, katydids and whippoorwill
Stir and start a scented and fantastic day

The empty battlefield becomes alive
With bees and butterflies, yellow finches
Scramble for the crawling splendors
And young, eager fawns stretch out the new limbs

The South awakes, and God loves her charms.

In the quiet stillness of morning, beyond the
Buzzing bee wings and sparrow songs
I hear the cries and war chants of her
Dreadful, beautiful past

I see the chains, the white palaces
The bruised backs and the soft smiles
I hear the whipping crack and the Dixie band
Fade into the distance as another steamboat
Leaves the old Savannah

History lies like thick molasses in each glade
The whizzing of musket balls and gut
Cries. The sounds of burning, burning and burning.
The groaning subtle crack of a kingdom falling
And the orphan-song of her blind children

It’s all hear, mixed in with that New Orleans
Shuffle beat and big smiles and toe-tapping
Slides on a steel guitar, Jews harp, jug
And String bass, mixing like sweet grapes
With the Mountain four-part harmony.

Then I see a troubled bird. Big and ugly. Heavy
And gliding in bringing nothing but
Stench and shadow. His great wings stretch
Across this sky and shower the grasses with
A stale oppression.

In that murky darkness a new spark emerges
It’s a quiet song, like distant thunder
Like the marching of a million feet
Louder and louder it comes, over land, sea
And air, it pulses like a great heart

And riding on it’s back is freedom
And riding on it’s back is sweet freedom
For the oppressor and the oppressed

Now my little space is alive again
Evening wind stirring up the toads
And the lightning bugs. With each eager
Warble, a flicker of a thousand stars lights up
The wood with a dancing flash.

Evening sets in her loving touch
And the grayness of dusk returns
With it, a healing balm, to soothe and salve
This piece of heaven.

The South sleeps, and God loves her charms.

Advertisements
Standard

3 thoughts on “Songs of the South

  1. “and i was upon them
    in my lashing and thrashing
    i felt her go free”
    this reminds me of a scene in a Stephen King book where one of his characters has sex with an invisible demon…

    “and now you know it
    and now you are kin”
    nice!

    “but these
    Mississippi creeks still ran red”
    love this image.

    “These legs was old. Good for sittin and for holding up pants”
    ha! nice&clever

    “The South awakes, and God loves her charms.

    In the quiet stillness of morning,”
    breathtaking…!

    “And riding on it’s back is freedom
    And riding on it’s back is sweet freedom
    For the oppressor and the oppressed”
    wow

    “This piece of heaven.

    The South sleeps, and God loves her charms.”
    wow.
    these are magnificent.
    I only wish I could master such vivid descriptions of nature.
    wow…

    • the title was very intriguing. I like looking at older stuff. It shows how much your style has been polished and honed.
      and yea, that comment was very long…I get carried away.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s