(This poem was written for an event opposing the burial of nuclear waste in a rural, remote valley of Buncombe County, NC)
It’s April in Sandy Mush, early spring.
The sun shines clean and warm, and ‘way back up the hollow,
nothing sounds but the little branch, a newly warmed bee,
and the redbird’s celebratory riff falling around me
like a white scarf of welcome.
Brand new tufts of yarrow, violet,
brand new leaves of raspberry coming off the canes.
This is farming country, sheep and goats on the hillsides,
luxurious waves of lemon-yellow rapeseed flowers waiting in the fields to be turned over.
Far down in the hollow, cattle murmur.
I pass Hog Eye Road and Sandy Mush Creek,
pass an old willow mustering up another year of shade,
old farms marked by split-rail fence,
trailers with a sleepy hound in the yard.
The rare plane passing overhead seems high, high up there,
staying out of the way of Doggett Mountain,
above the magnificent range of peaks
that ring Sandy Mush like the rim of a bowl.
Sitting here by the old, barely scraped, puddled and rutted road,
one can’t help but think, “why here?”
Here in this Shangri-La where bears and coyotes rule the realm,
where people have made peace with the power of the land,
(Best to give in and be ruled by Her!)
No! I just can’t think this thing.
No! This horrid waste belongs nowhere.
Not here, not in your back yard or mine.
Make no more!
Take from the redbird your guidance on how to spend your days.
With brilliance, create beauty, loving Her ever more.
Pull forth your joy from the ancient mud
like trillium, like bloodroot, like wild ginger.
Leave this path of horror, the waste of the world,
and let Her push you up through Her early spring mud,
another miracle, your very being, one of us all.
Hawkscry, Sandy Mush, North Carolina