Blowing through these hills
in ’76, I snagged on the branches
of convenience. Hanging for the winter,
I heard my note strike harmony.
I found rutted roads through luxurious woods,
banjos and fiddles and comfortable poverty;
lines of mossy rocks amid beech and mountain laurel,
morel-capped ridges giving birth to clouds!
The cheering of peepers, the rumors of bear,
Montani Semper Liberi—
broomsage and ghosts, persimmon wine,
Now I rise to defend
these wooded ridges, my sanctuary, because
sandstone has mineralized my bones,
my flesh is made of reddish clay,
my veins are tributary
to the Little Kanawha River.
West Virginia is my mother.