Monday, March 3, 2014

Backcountry (1635)

Dawn Potter

You rose from the coastal plain,              The Monongahela Culture.
snaked through ridges and valleys,
and rolled down to the western rivers.      The Iroquois Nation.

You were a grand deciduous forest.         The Mingo Tribes.
Oak, hickory, and chestnut,
mingled, on your mountaintops,               The Delaware Nation.
with birch, evergreens, and maple.
                                                             The Shawnee Nation.
Mist shimmered in your hollows.                                               
Sunlight dappled the undergrowth—          A trapper.
dogwood, mountain laurel,
rhododendron, trailing arbutus.                  A missionary.
Your falling waters and mountain springs
never ran dry.                                          A soldier.

[from Chestnut Ridge, a verse-history-in-progress of southwestern Pennsylvania.]

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