THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
DEATH'S HALF ACRE, by Margaret Maron
(Image from Amazon.com, but go to an Indie Bookstore instead!)
Margaret Maron is the author of twenty-four novels and two collections of short stories. Winner of several major American awards for mysteries (Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, Macavity), her works are on the reading lists of various courses in contemporary Southern literature and have been translated into 16 languages. She has served as president of Sisters in Crime, the American Crime Writers League, and Mystery Writers of America.
A native Tar Heel, she still lives on her family's century farm a few miles southeast of Raleigh, the setting for Bootlegger's Daughter, which is numbered among the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. In 2004, she received the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for best North Carolina novel of the year. In 2008 she received the North Carolina Award for Literature.
(go to www.margaretmaron.com for more information about the author) ----------------------------
[In the following passage, Judge Deborah Knott watches as her father paints the name and date on a rock that will serve as a grave marker for the house dog that died that day.]
The stone that Andrew had brought for Blue’s grave was about the size and shape of a five-gallon bucket. Daddy sat on a nearby rock and pried up the lid of the paint can. With the rag, he brushed the dirt away from a fairly flat area on the stone and dipped his brush in the paint. “Do you believe in a life after this?” I asked him from my perch on a rock that marked the grave of Aunt Sister’s ugly pet goat. “In heaven?”
“Wings and halos and streets of gold?” He smiled and shook his head. “Naw, that never made much sense to me.” “What do you believe in then?”
He shrugged. “Just because I don’t believe in heaven don’t mean I believe there ain’t nothing after this. We can’t never know, can we? I used to study on it, ’specially when your mama was dying. Now I’ve quit worrying about it. If being alive’s a accident, then we’re the luckiest accident in the universe, ain’t we?”
He finished lettering Blue’s name and the day’s date, then capped the can and leaned back against the fence to watch the sun slip lower. A light breeze brushed our faces and ruffled his white hair.
“You ever think about them stories your mama used to read y’all? Stories from all over the world about old gods?” “The myths?” I asked, surprised that he recalled them.
“I reckon. One of ’em was about a chief in one of them cold countries where they have mead halls. Adam wanted to know what a mead hall was. Your mama said it was where they had big feasts, with singing and laughing and beer made with honey.” I smiled, having no memory of this.
“Anyhow, somebody asked the chief if there was anything after this and the chief pointed to a moth up near the roof timbers that’d got in and was flying down the length of the mead hall. He said that moth was like life. It comes in out of the darkness, it stays a while to see the feasting and laughing and song-making and story-telling and then it flies back out into the darkness. We can’t see in the darkness, but the moth flies on like there might be something better a little further on out there.”
“Is that what you believe, Daddy?”
He stubbed out his cigarette with the toe of a scuffed brogan and smiled over at me. “Well, shug, I got to say it makes more sense than angel wings and streets of gold. The sun sank below the horizon in a blaze of reds and purples and oranges. “But for right now, this is one mighty fine mead hall, ain’t it?” =
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.