Poem Hunter
For Jesse Stuart
JDW (1975 / Portsmouth, Ohio)

For Jesse Stuart

Poem By Jeremy D. Wells

Be glad that you are dead,
Because I read your stories
Of Kentucky in spring
And paw paws, persimmon and percoon,
Of sarvice in bloom,
And I weep
For the KY that was still there a little bit,
When I was young
And my father taught me to look for shag bark to find hickories first,
Then to look at the leaves,
And my grandpa showed me sassafras
And teaberries
I weep
For the KY that was still there a little bit
When 4, no 5 generations gathered around a Sunday table,
Third cousins were best friends
And blood was thicker than sorghum,
When people asked “Who you kin to? ”
Instead of “What kind of work do you do? ”
And everybody’s door was unlocked always
And the polite thing to do
Was holler before you walked on in.
I weep
For the KY that was still there a little bit
When a preschooler helped his grandpa dig Kennebec potatoes,
Chiming “we’re hard working men, ain’t we papa”
When one grandmother was beloved for the peppers she picked and pickled,
And another
For the sweetest apple butter you ever curled a lip around
And we all laughed at the way the dearest man we ever knew,
Took a little sweet corn with his butter.
I weep for the KY that was still there a little bit,
When sons learned guitar
Because their dad’s played banjo and fiddle
And we weren’t ashamed to sing the songs our mommy’s taught us
Or ones from the old church hymnal.
We’re losing these things Jesse,
I’m watching it happen in my lifetime
And before the last walnut
falls to pulp mill cutters,
Before the last minnow
goes belly up in septic choked streams
The last hill is leveled
for shopping mall convenience
And the last tobacco plot lost
to the newest industrial byway
I hope I join you
Before the last mother’s song is lost,
Because a mother only sang T.V. themes
and radio tunes
I hope to meet you on the other side
And to have you show me how to find a paw paw tree
After the first frost
When you said the fruit was ripe
And sweetest
Because there weren’t any around anymore
When I was growing up.

© 2005

User Rating: 5 / 5 ( 0 votes )

Comments (0)

There is no comment submitted by members.