Monday is a day when business and busyness begins anew. Today, check out a poem by Appalachian, James Still. Still was a writer (and one-time Bible salesman) from Knott County, KY. Through his lifetime, he saw the destruction of his native land at the hands of coal companies even as he told stories of struggling coal miners.
His voice in this poem, from River of Earth, shows a painful but amusing perspective on business and beauty in his home region.
‘Mine Is a Wide Estate’
I am wealthy with earth and sky,
Heir to far boundaries of field and stream,
And scarce can keep track of so much property:
Cloud-herd, dew-diamond, midge and bee,
Wasp-way, wind’s wisdom and the foxfire’s gleam —
I am rich despite a seeming poverty.
Mine is a wide estate. It is a legal jest.
These are a neighbor’s hills, those a stranger’s.
Who owns the water’s speech, the hornet’s nest,
The catbird’s mew, the grassy breath in mangers,
And who in cricket song and mayfly nymphs invest?
I am possessor and possessed.