Love In The Blue Ridge

May 18, 2018

Today’s poem is “Love in the Blue Ridge” by Adrian Blevins from her third book of poems, Appalachians Run Amok. She is also the author of Live from the Homesick Jamboree and The Brass Girl Brouhaha. She teaches at Colby College.

She writes, “The poems in Appalachians Run Amok are an attempt to celebrate rural Appalachians, and to complain also a bit about them and myself for being occasionally nostalgic for a simple past that never was. Mountain people are a lot like Mainers--they're fierce and independent and ornery, as we'd say back home. They are set in their ways. They are not fond of change. Yet they have also been systematically brutalized by a narrative that looks at them through a lens that privileges money and the making of money over ingenuity, self-sufficiency, loyalty to family, and many other virtues it might be smart to bring back to America right about now.”

Love in the Blue Ridge
by Adrian Blevins

I know a lot of mountain people who’ll leave home
for maybe 24 hours like they think they’re obliged
like they think they signed a contract but must
return ASAP is my point to lie flat on the ground
to slowly rub the Kentucky Bluegrass & even the
Hairy Bittergrass no matter the season or temperature
or state of general heath & weep almost a little or a lot
& sigh, which is how you learn what love is
in the Blue Ridge. How tied to the earth love is,
how like it’s where the chicken coop is
like love basically depends on the chicken coop
or just the shadow the chicken coop used to cast
now that the chicken coop has been eliminated
like the ghost of the chicken coop stains the ambiance
like love’s a hurricane of feathers & beating hearts
& livers & eggs & nesting boxes & gristle & blood
flying everywhere with that fox in the spirit-coop
with us too biting us together by biting us to time
& to the air & the wind & the limestone itself
as to a grave-esque void that is not a void
so much as a bawdy richness & a tenderness
& even a roundness or a weird oneness
that is also potentially sentimental I know
but is meanwhile also a wholeness, is my point,
& a holiness. Meaning we know where home is
as in where the wholes are. Meaning how
to enter them & what they’re made of & how
to dwell in that hovel & trounce it & fill it & stay.

Poem copyright ©2018 Adrian Blevins.
Reprinted from Appalachians Run Amok,
Two Sylvias Press, 2018,
by permission of Adrian Blevins.