Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Tuesday, March 23, 2010

REBUILDING MY GRANDFATHER'S HOUSE

(Magpie Tales)


Rebuilding My Grandfather's House

In the ashes I search for a nail straight enough
to be hammered. (Oh, for a trove of new nails spilling
out of its box like gold coins, silver
earrings, a handful of diamonds discovered
among the debris of my grandfather's house.)

As soon as I find it
I pound with conviction but no skill.
I hold up my battered blue thumb to the sky
and I curse as magnificently
as my grandfather ever did.
Tears streak my dirty cheeks. Each day I quit
and each day I start over again,
using patience I hardly knew I had inherited.
I swear by the toil of my clumsy hands
I will make of this junk-pile a dwelling place yet.

I work best when I take my time,
coaxing woolly worms into a tin can
and letting them go again, dreaming
the night sky unfolds like a blueprint I learn
to read. I dance by the light of the moon
and feel lonely, already at home here.

When I hammer the last nail straight
into the last sagging beam, I will
spit on the edge of my shirt and sit down
on a barrel to scrub my face clean.
I will not look my Sunday-best,
but I cannot wait forever.
The hinges will creak as I open the front door
and call out my grandfather's name.
In the silence that answers, I step
slowly over the threshold,
believing that each board supports me.
I stand in my grandfather's house again.

13 comments:

Queenmothermamaw said...

I stood with you as you searched for a nail, remembering your grandfather. Very profound writing.
Bring your feeling pouring out.
QMM

Vicki Lane said...

Love it, Kay! "The night sky like a blue print..." -- perfect.

This put me in mind of a book you might enjoy -- FOLLY by Laurie R. King -- a woman rebuilding a family house on an island in the Northwest.

steviewren said...

There's no place like home. You did a excellent job of conveying a sense of family, love and comfort found in a familial place.

willow said...

Beautiful piece, Kay. This line reached out and grabbed me, "I pound with conviction but no skill".

Lyn said...

Sort of like building a life? You are following in good footsteps..Thanks!

Brian Miller said...

oh what a heart felt and stirring take ont eh prompt...beautiful.

i have banged a few thumbs in my day as well...

Angie Muresan said...

I love the poignancy of this. And the memories of home through the years.

Lynn Hamilton Rutherford said...

Kay ... I don't suppose it's a surprise that my imagination took me to Cherry Mountain as I read this! Moms old cabin (the first one built with used boards and old nails for sure), immediately popped into my head! But then, your beautiful imagery took over, as always, and I was teleported to your grandfathers house! Beautiful Kay ... I love pieces like this! :)

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Queenmother, thank you for visiting. And for your comments. This house was sacred space to us, and we still inhabit it in our memories.
Vicki, I'll track down this book. Sounds like it's something I'll like.
steviewren, I'll be visiting you soon!
Willow, you, too. Thanks for your Mr. Magpie!
Hi Lyn, yes, building a life. And a poem! I realized after I'd finished the piece, that much of it could be a metaphor for making art, too.
Thanks, Brian. I'm definitely unconfident with a hammer in my hand. Especially with those little nails you use to hang things on the wall! I need jumbo nails.
Angie, thanks for dropping by. And Lynn, yes, I'm not surprised that Cherry Mt. came to mind. I remember it, too. So glad we are visiting each other again.

Jessie Carty said...

i can't remember who wrote it, but there was a poem by a male poet that dealt with a similar theme. would be great if i could remember it! i love having a person of a different gender read a poem just to test people's assumption of narrator :)

Nancy Simpson said...

To The Carpenter.

I love these words
and the woman who wrote them.

Charlotte said...

Priceless real estate, Kay.

SUN DANCE HILL said...

Very moved by this poem, it is lovely, poignant, nostalgic - and took me to a beloved house I have lost... we can 'go home again' even if it is just in memories.