The Appalachians -------------------------------------------
The mountains Ė trampled down by so many westward feet Ė
Rise like a rugged spine
As I examine a crumpled leaf
And wish I could leave them behind
And see whatís on the other side.
When I was five I took a large leaf
And bent it about
And sent it down a mountain stream
Where it was rocked and wrecked on the side
I righted it and let the boat ride
Until it slipped from my sight and my mind
Down that artery of the land
Now that the fall is coming
And the air clings close to the ground
Iíve sensed the change now rising
Itís always laid in the back of my mind
I know that Iíll cross that ridge
Maybe across them there are fields
Where honey colored hay spills from my hands
But on the day when the whiteness descends
And I examine my withered palms
Iíve heard no one tell me whatís there
So for now itís only blankness stands
The voice of... an old tired black field hand?
Interesting. I like the honey hay thing, it smelled sweet. I have no idea about the meter, my metronome cracked somewhere along the way, but trin's assessment is always on the mark with such things. Walking a hay field certainly feels like death sometimes, and I'd assume a mountain ridge climb would put you there. I'm so unhelpful, I know, except that I liked the picture it put in my head.... I see overalls and ashy palms and a feeble long walk to glory in this. It's almost Welty in it's photographic presentation. The first part doesn't have that voice to it, the imagery (forgive me for using the word) is there, but the voice isn't.
That's "old folk talk" around here. Come (season), Come (day), Come (month)....
Maybe across them there are fields
I'd lose the "are" I don't understand the insertion.
And if you are going blackface in this, maybe 'cross them there...
Or have I misread everything?
*Edit: After reading the title, I see APPALACHIANS.... ROFLMAO! Oh forgive me, I pay much attention to titles until after I read the piece. Appalachians are a whooooolllleeee different category, I can't even understand the dialogue of them (so much spit, so few teeth), so forget what I said.
You want thoughts or an actual critique? I've read your comments so I'll go with the later. Bear with me that I hardly ever give these out anymore so I'm rather rusty...
"And wish I could leave them behind"
"Until it slipped from my sight and my mind"
"Itís always laid in the back of my mind"
Is there a reason for this repetition of sorts at the end of your strophes? I almost think that you could chop these out, thereby taking out as many personal pronouns as possible and making it more "show, not tell" -- if you get me?
"Maybe across them there are fields
Where honey colored hay spills from my hands"
There's a tense issue here where I think "will spill" or "would spill" makes more sense, but in saying that, both my suggested edits sound clunky, so make of that what you will.
"So for now itís only blankness stands"
"Blankness stands" just doesn't work for me, both grammatically and in that way where I'm going, "Huh, what exactly do you mean by blankness stands?" I guess, for me, the end line of any poem needs to have a lasting impact, and this falls short. But I'm a picky bugger, so there you go.
I like the rhythm of this -- you've obviously read a great deal of metered, rhythmic verse and it shows. What I'm here to propose is that you find a more balanced medium between meter and natural rhythm. In other words, open yourself up and let yourself loose.
So... I hope this commentary is useful to you.
*takes off faux poetry professor hat*