Forum Activity for @nancy-e-wright2

Nancy E Wright2
06/22/17 08:55:52AM
17 posts

Appalachian Torch: A Tribute to Helen Matthews Lewis

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2017

Appalachian Torch
A Tribute to Helen Matthews Lewis
When tectonic plates collided from ancient ocean floor,
Before Clovis and Coosa, before Allegheny, Blue Ridge and Piedmont,
Those mountains were born, maternal from infancy,
Cloaked in red oak, chestnut, maple, spruce and sycamore,
Sheltering Algonquin, Spanish, French, Irish, German and Cherokee--
Embracing inhabitant and explorer, livelihood and anticipation,
Honoring the communities that honored the mountains,
Mountains and community, you are one in Appalachia!
Before Clovis and Coosa, before Allegheny, Blue Ridge and Piedmont,
The Cherokee say the Buzzard tired and fell when the Great Flood receded.
Thus emerged Shaonage, land of blue smoke, Great Smoky Mountains.
The Spaniards heard a Muskogean word that became the name “Appalachia”.
After the name the immigrants came and some named the indigenous “savages”,
While others called the immigrants “hillbillies”; thus each stranger named the other.
The ones who were the least familiar hastened to give the names,
While others hastened to take the land but almost no one hastened to understand.
Those mountains were born, maternal from infancy,
Newcomers would name and create a new Plot Balsam and Cumberland,
When Ulster and Palatinate would see them no more,
On land from which the French and Spanish had long departed.
There relentless hope lived in glimpses of sunbeam and star,
In the ring of voice and dulcimer, in the tender shoots of spring,
In camaraderie in the mines, and in family at the hearth,
And in the clutch of a Bible in a stiffened, work-gnarled hand.
Cloaked in red oak, chestnut, maple, spruce and sycamore,
Was the carnage of rebellion, starvation and black lung.
The Trail of Tears became the even Greater Flood,
While a new buzzard circled above an embryonic nation,
Nurtured in those mountains that the strangers had long ago named--
As the Cherokee reclaimed their name to honor Mother Earth.
Native American, European, and African-American---all Americans
Trading, farming, fighting, reconciling, breathing….. became Appalachia.
Sheltering Algonquin, Spanish, French, Irish, German and Cherokee--
Though now just weeping memories of the departed Algonquin Shawnee,
And remnants of that Muskogean word that the Spanish thought they heard,
And echoes of the battles where the ghosts of French forts lurked,
But breathing life to stalwart Irish, German and resilient Cherokee
And manumission and refuge to those bound in slavery,
The coal cars and the railroad rumbled through the mountains and underground,
Some to take the blue-black rock, some to free the Black in bondage.
Embracing inhabitant and explorer, livelihood and anticipation
Not of accumulation or extraction but of life and community,
A torch-bearer would arrive from near Athens (not in Greece but Georgia)
With her own tectonic collision against injustice and exploitation.
Galvanizer of youth suffrage and of racial equality,
Inspired by the Cotton Patch Gospel, evangelist for integrity,
Founder of Wise Library, she enabled Wise to become even wiser,
Teacher, student, scholar and advocate, she moved Virginia’s mountains.
Honoring the communities that honored the mountains,
She analyzed and acted, inspired others on their paths
As zesty as her chow chow and ginger pear preserves,
At Highlander then in Jellico, Ivanhoe and McDowell
Sister with Glenary Sisters, purposeful pilgrim in Wales,
To European, South American and Sub-Saharan African mines,
Warrior for workers, women, water,  and well-being,
Catalyst and crusader for courageous community-based change.
 Mountains and community, you are one in Appalachia!
Shout and sing from the heavens your song of gratitude!
Helen still lifts her flaming torch above the darkling night,
Into the mountains, forests, rivers, and mines, faithful citizens leading together,
As Cherokee, Scotch-Irish, German and African-American,
On fiddle and dulcimer, banjo, gourd rattle and water drum
Play and sing their hymns united, dance in liberty and equity,
Proclaiming, "We are Appalachia, peaceful, wise, proud and free!”
Nancy E Wright2
12/01/16 05:01:53AM
17 posts

The Raindrops Remember: Reflections on the Fiftieth Anniversary of Aberfan

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2016

The raindrops remember that day of black water

When their prism teardrops spilled into slurry 

As the grownups screamed "Hurry" to small bodies buried,

Forced to stare and to strangle into a smothering death unhurried.

It was just after morning prayer, with the coal tips still perched there,

Seven altogether, stoic and waiting

Like the days of the week. . . . . . . .







                                 Sun  . . . . . . . .  . . . . .  day

But it was not, and yet the sabbath cracked,

Its divine spine broken under the weight of negligence then disbelief.

The raindrops remember . . . . . 

The raindrops remember, because they comprise the same water.

Clouds pouring themselves into pulverized coal

And unlike the victims, the droplets ensconced

Rode particles of air to return to the sky

Only to come down again and again.

The raindrops remember . . . . . 

The raindrops remember

That water gives us life

And water drowns that life,

That coal gives us warmth

And coal infests the air

And tumbles onto the human frame from tip to toe.

The raindrops remember.

The raindrops remember 

That coal warms the body and coal kills the lung,

That water grows the flowers and water floods the meadow,

That tradition keeps us going and tradition keeps the tips in place.

That the child and the shepherd are the clarions of danger,

That when those clarions sound, the engineer is ready to measure,

That every breath is sacrifice and every breath is a gift,

That life is immeasurable beyond any slide rule,

Even when those who rule watch it slide from those they rule. 

The raindrops remember.

The raindrops remember.

updated by @nancy-e-wright2: 12/03/16 02:54:52PM
Nancy E Wright2
12/01/16 04:22:02AM
17 posts

Thoughts from the Solar System on the Centennial of the U.S. National Park Service

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2016

For a century we have watched your institutional embrace

Giving glaciers, forests, lakes and mountains their distinctly human face;

And while we, the galaxies, comets, planets, meteors, and such

Would defy any imprints of this interventionist human touch,

We honor your wisdom, foresight, and your acuminate earthly skill

In curtailing and preventing the effects of rampant human will

To build and to bulldoze seemingly fallow, void terrain

In the name of economic development for sheer financial gain.

The parks of America speak wordlessly of sustenance and beauty,

Of firmaments' astounding grandeur and of patriotic duty.

From the pathways of the Natchez and the trails of the Cherokee

To the mangroves of Saipan's Pacific wartime memory,

From Hawaii's lava rock our meteors could claim as theirs,

To Sequoia's, Kings Canyon's and Yosemite's great black bears,

From Acadia and Cape Cod where the eye for sunrise waits,

From Chesapeake and Cumberland to Alaska's Arctic gates,

From Arizona's Tuzigoot to Florida's Dry Tortugas,

The declaration of America's parks has brought reassurance to us.

For we have monitored your earthly life from our extraterrestrial sphere

(Defined as such by earthlings, since only to you are we a frontier).

We understand your crowding, your resource limits, your need,

And who knows how many that food grown on another planet could feed?

But we have observed that wilderness takes root in the human spirit

Only when its endangered status draws people to come near it.

Thus wilderness, like extraterrestrial, is a motif of the human mind,

Born of the imagination that wants to protect it, to be kind.

Thus the wild is so defined by that which has been captured,

And inherent value named by the heart that is enraptured.

Indeed, at times quite heedless of human lives already in place,

Other humans declare a park a tribute to nature's grace.

But a preserve of flora and fauna for some is to others their root subsistence,

In a world where humans and non-humans dwell in balanced co-existence.

"Indigenous" they may call it, once more defined by its antithesis,

Thus creating yet again a wild proprietary synthesis.

To leave it wild you must encircle it, and declare it as your own,

Then gaze into the galaxy that in the future may be your home,

While we, the solar system, smile brightly in our deep, deep dark,

To fathom that our infinity could ever be declared a park.

updated by @nancy-e-wright2: 12/04/16 12:46:41PM
Nancy E Wright2
11/29/16 11:01:07PM
17 posts

Ode to Jeannette Rankin on the Centennial of Her Election to the U.S. Congress: An Acrostic

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2016

Just peace, or a just peace?

E ither or neither or both attainable, for

A fter all, who rightly sees both

N ot as ends but means?

N ovember, that month between

E vergreens and reflections on scarlet and gold,

T urning time back amid

T wirling dryness of leafy remnants,

E mblems of a peaceful death

R eborn in the sparkle of winter's promised snowfall.

A utumn's interim hosted America's first elected Congresswoman,

N ever voting for her nation's entry into world war,

K indly and fierce, from ranch to farm to world,

I ncensed and inspiring, launching a

N ew November, first and penultimate, of means yet unrealized.

Nancy E Wright2
10/12/16 01:36:01AM
17 posts


West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2016



The light inhales each breath of the sea,

Wind on wave, propelling the dawn.

The smoke breathes the last dark lavender

Of the rain-drenched night cloud.

The shawl of fog surrenders its last linen threads,

Wild and burnt by the yet embryonic sun.

The light's lungs, now full of briny air,

Blow in the sunbeams peppered with salt,

Blow in the sky, blue and holy over the orchard,

Blow in the clouds, bearing friend and stranger.

Let us sit together among the newly ripened fruit.

                                                Nancy E. Wright

updated by @nancy-e-wright2: 10/12/16 01:41:42AM
Nancy E Wright2
10/08/16 01:47:48AM
17 posts

Centennial 1916, 2016 A Sestina by Nancy E. Wright

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2016

                                                                                    Centennial 1916, 2016

                                                                                                A Sestina


                                   Nineteen-sixteen grew extra time when the Leap Year was first presented,

                                   Later Albert Einstein's theory of relativity was completed,

A taxi brought me to Pilot Butte to watch the setting sun,

Oblivious to Bend's centennial in this scene that I'd created.

Our friend and fellow singer Alice was born in January of that year,

And the next month Baltimore's first symphony concert took place,


                                    Where taxi drivers, clerks and millionaires all took their place

                                    In that space where Mozart, Beethoven, Saint-Saens and Delibes were presented.

                                    The Battle of Verdun in France spilled blood in that same year,

                                    While in a British hospital the first transfusion was completed.

 Giving thanks for trees and that the National Park Service was created,

 I think of Alice's favorite pink which now has edged the sun.


As crowds from work gaze at the cloud that now enfolds the sun,

I recall that

                                   in that year the first forty-hour work week had its place.

                                   Jackie Gleason, Dinah Shore, and Olivia de Havilland were created,

                                   The first electric light switch was invented and presented,

                                   Composer Gustav Holst's “The Planets” was completed,

                                   And first US Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin was elected in that year.


                      Solzhenitsyn wrote of times near revolution in that year

                                    (Though Russians of that time counted different settings of the sun,

                                    Their switch from Julian to Gregorian as yet not completed).

 I recall in the choir loft Alice smiling in her place,

 And her velvet alto in the music we presented,

                                      How in that year Monet's “Water Lilies” and BMW were created.


                                      Walter Cronkite, Francois Mitterand, and Gregory Peck were all created.

                                      Ottawa's Parliament buildings burned completely in that year.

 The cloud becomes a flaming pillar, a solar exodus presented,

 And still, like fiery memory is the silhouette of the sun.

 I recall our last visit to Alice that cold January at her place.

 Just about one year before her life on earth completed.


Now comes the night with abundant light as the sunset is completed,

 I learned only the next morning

                                     in that year Bend, Oregon was created.

 I thought of pioneers on foot, follies, dreams to land presented,

 Swelling speculators, beggars, risk-takers year by year,

 And indigenous displaced until their only constant was the sun.

 Of births and deaths, famed and unknown, through centuries presented.


 All the sunsets completed they thought each evening had presented

 Were instead in their own eyes and souls created, while rooted was the sun,

 And still----from its burning place---can it even see each blazing year?


                                                                                                          Nancy E. Wright