Write the Land


Kentucky Sunrise, taken through car windshield

Being Kentuckian is being
part of this dark earth, rooted
like the giant sycamore
down by the molasses mill.

It’s knowing self
is not established by realitly tv
or pronouncing “i” like eye,
but rather “ah”, a sense of wonder.

It’s holding onto old magic
long after the Global Community
says your faith is invalid,
your culture irrelevant.

It is determination
with a knife in her fist,
compassion in her eyes,
grace in her steps and steel
in her back.

It’s being part bobcat and bear,
having a love affair
with every mountain, tree,
stream and field, knowing
how to skin a deer, clean a fish,
fix a car, make a quilt,
play a musical instrument
and entertain with ease.

It’s understanding
unwritten laws, unspoken nuances
outsiders never get, no matter how long
they stay. When you know Kentucky,
really know her, she gets in your blood,
haunts your dreams, like her mist haunts
these mountains, always rising
but never letting go

3 thoughts on “Write the Land

  1. Wonderful poem. You have captured the true spirit. I really like S4 and 5 best. I would tweak the last line in S5–“and entertain with ease” I couldn’t see the image there compared to the other lines. Also I would omit “is” in the second line /second stanza.
    Otherwise, I would grab the girl in the faded print dress, twirl her around the cabin, and never let go.

  2. Scot,

    Thank you so much. I see your point about “is” and yes indeedy it can go. The line about entertain, I will think on how to make that better. I guess I was drawing upon some things I learned as a youth. I had a few influences in my life, real southern belles [of my mother and grandmother’s generations…there aren’t many left nowadays] and one of the requirements was to be able to work like a man, yet entertain guests in the home with grace…I see your point. That line is telling and not showing. Therefore it should go.

    Thank you,


  3. Well, I think it should stay–just change–I believe the idea is much needed– maybe like you stated–you need to make the transition from hard work to serving up a mint julep (or sweet potato pie) ha–not really but that type of image. lmk the change.

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