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.




Saturday, March 19, 2011

Franklin Public Library hosts WCU Literary Festival Authors


The Franklin Public Library will host three events celebrating the WCU Literary Festival that occurs during the first full week of April. I will be reading and discussing my book Coming to Rest on Sunday afternoon, March 27 at 2:00. Please go to this link to find more information about these events: http://www.fontanalib.org/pdfs/literary-festival-Franklin-2011.pdf.


Coming to Rest





1.

The Name


Because she’d not bury

the name with the dead child,

she made her surviving five children

swear they’d pass it on

to the first daughter born to them.


Another name for letting go.

Or holding on.


Another name for home.





2.


Birthday Ghazal

Why this old Persian form for today, of all days?

Why not sonnet or blank verse to help me take hold?


Down to the wire goes the season’s gold,

late this year, so long it took to take hold.


I don’t care that my days tumble down

to the compost pile. I want to look, to take hold.


Seize the day. Carpe Diem, if you like.

Bite down hard on the hook and take hold.


Down the creek float the leavings of what I once was.

Just a girl. Mostly waiting for luck to take hold.


Last night rain kept the roof busy scolding

me, wake up you dumb cluck and take hold.


I’ve already answered my e-mail, my voice

mail, my snail mail. My real work? To take hold.


Kathryn died too young. Age twelve. Now she tolls

in the dust of my name: to come back, to take hold.






3.

Sinking


The aunt I was named after died too young.

She sank at age twelve

into diabetic pneumonia. Then coma,


too pretty a word for her dying. Why cling

to another old form like this no-holds-

barred song for my aunt who died too young


to care about romance? What good is a song

now, to her? Or to me? Maybe I’ve grown too old

for such artifice, as if I’m trapped in a coma


of middle-aged dullness. My tongue

slips on names. But not hers. But why dwell

on her death. So she died, much too young,


not all like an angel who could do no wrong,

not at all blonde & pretty as I had been told.

When she sank into that final coma,


she must have looked ugly. I can’t make this

villanelle sing, no matter what I’ve been told

about Kathryn, who died too young,

years before insulin, of diabetic pneumonia.







4.

Stuck


She smoothes her skirt and squints at me.

I don’t know what to say. Or why she’s come.

The clock’s stopped ticking on the wall. Back home

again, she sees what I see, same old creek

reflecting nothing but a sky where trees

fish with their lines of moss all day. Let’s thumb

a ride to town, she dares. Let’s make the phone lines hum

above these droughty fields. Now that I’m free


I’m getting out of here. She says she wants to hear

the latest gossip, wants to have a little fun.

She tells me everything that hangs around

too long gets stuck. I nod. I don’t dare

ask her why she’s here, this dust I’ve stirred from

sleep. This shell of light. This sullen hologram.



5.

Free


This nameless creek

almost obscured by shade

where she was last seen

by the camera lens

keeps rushing through me

as she hikes her skirt

and stands wanting to be

brave enough to walk

into the current,

sickly girl whose cropped

hair won’t blow

in the summer

wind, too short,

too short, she cries,

coming to rest

in the photograph.



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