Friday, April 25, 2008


"I'm a Pisces, what are you?" she asked. "A Baptist," I replied.

We live in this life in a winter wood.
On each bare tree, and on the vacant-seeming ground
about what leaf, what growth? Eye cannot tell:
by Word, and rare Experience, we know.
"Keep to the path," HE warned us,
"Follow Me." (There are no shortcuts here,
no scenic routes).

In chill of winterness, the safe not-knowing,
suspended growth of demon poison ivy,
thorn and briar,
quicksand, bandit, pitfall, storm or snare
or fears of being lost, present no threat
to our clearcutting eyes.

Our vision wintertime seems clear, if stark.
It isn't that we do not dare believe
in the existence there of things unseen--
but that we fear
our own inexpert, foolish exploration
(they called it "whoring after" in the past)
in ways uncharted, into dells of death ...
The beech that seems to blossom is a wraith;
what look as flowers, but sunlit decay.

Yet in time's grim denouement, blooms with tell:
the crooked leaf, the wakened wasp, the fang...
and we who held the narrow way will tremble
in awe and horror at our near escape,
till safely meadowed, on beyond the Hill.

by Harriet Stovall Kelley
Georgia-born artist and poet

In this third year of highlighting poems in April in honor of National Poetry Month, I've spent more time reading and learning about the writers, authors, and poets from my own state and my own family.

Harriet is my cousin and frightfully creative. I have lifted the artwork from the cover of her originally published booklet The ArctAngel and Other Cold Poems where I found E S P. I must ask her public forgiveness for not knowing enough HTML to indent properly some of the lines of this compelling poem.

But I promise to find out.

While you wait for me to fix that, click over to my Xanga site and view one of her paintings.

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