POETICS: Two by Colleen Anderson

‘Untitled.’ | WestVirginiaVille.com photograph

Hammered Dulcimer Concert

Clean music. The notes fall one upon the other,
transparent. Closing my eyes on this city concert,
I hear water, the song of melting snow on a hill
in Braxton County, in spring.

You took me down into a pine-thick valley
to visit the house you built and later abandoned.
We stepped through snow still clinging to shadows of truck ruts,
mud clutching our boots, the sucking sound
of loss.

Inside the house, we went from room to room,
you touching wall and table, I filling my eyes
with your past—peace posters, children’s storybooks,
a coffee mug. You showed me the place on the floor
where Sarah, your daughter, was born.

While you repaired a broken window, I slept
outside on dry pine needles, the sweet, thin sleep
of babies and lost children in fairy tales,
and woke to the sound of a sudden rivulet flashing
through leaves, over twigs, under snow.

“You can tune it,” you said, and moved a stone
or leaf, and changed the sound in some small way,
though whether the altered song was more harmonic
neither of us could say.

Sleeping in the Attic

It feels like a tent
or a Japanese temple,
tucked-in, well-met, rent-
free. No chair or table.
A garret with a gable,

a lighthouse, a castle
tower, the cabin
of an ocean-sailing vessel,
the nest of a robin
adorned with a ribbon

or a cave in a cliff,
for rest after climbing,
where the Old Ones lived,
made love, lay dreaming.
Listen. A bell is chiming.

Colleen Anderson is a graphic designer and writer of songs and poems, among other things. Learn more about her design studio, publications, and workshops at www.colleenanderson.com.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: When it comes to West Virginia, what Bob Dylan said about something else. Plus, what’s up in the May 2022 issue of WestVirginiaVille.com

FIRST/PERSON: On the streets in “the capital of pain”: There are mayapples unfurling on the banks of the Kanawha River in the darkness of West Virginia’s capital city. There are humans sleeping there, too, on this cold and rainy April night, and we are among them. | by JAMES COCHRAN

5 QUESTIONS: On the Art of the Guitar: Spencer Elliott is a genre-defying solo performer based in Charleston WV, while also performing in the burning-down-the-house trio SE3. A look at keeping your day job while growing an international fan base.

CHARACTERS: ‘The Hobo Girl: She had many names and left many stories. The night ‘The Hobo Girl’ wandered into St. Albans, WV, like a footloose traveler from another time.

LISTEN/UP: Artists & Podcasters worth noting: From hip-hop innovator Shelem to podcasts worth hearing, a heads up from BLACK BY GOD: The West Virginian.

FIRST/PERSON: On Ukraine, Putin, Navalny & Zelensky: J. Michael Willard worked for Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller then went on to international career that landed him in Ukraine. Excerpts from his thoughts on Putin’s brutal invasion of the country where two daughters still live.

POETICS: Two by Colleen Anderson: Clean music. The notes fall one upon the other, / transparent. Closing my eyes on this city concert,/ I hear water, the song of melting snow on a hill / in Braxton County, in spring …

MAN/MADE: A brief meditation on ‘Reflected Glory’: A brief meditation on a shiny object in West Virginia’s capital city.

NOTE TO READERS: Since its founding in May 2020, WestVirginiaVille.com (a project of AmpMediaProject.com), has been a free online magazine of lively, opinionated & alternative writing and imagery about West Virginia. Help us stay in the business of offering ad-free, worthy content. CLICK HERE OR THE ‘Donate’ BUTTON TO SUPPORT THE CAUSE.


POEM: “Almost” by Marc Harshman: nov4.2021: ‘The world will go on without me but for these few moments I am/ sitting on top of the world, a simple summer’s day, away/ from the busy rush of roads, the scrolling of screens,/ almost off the map, almost heaven, almost where/ sky meets eternity …’

POEM: “A Year of Few Apples” by Kirk Judd: nov4.2021: ‘Pantry shelves and freezer bins/ Scavenged for this season’s solitary pies/ Settled atop cooling racks/ On cinnamon evenings/ In oven-warmed kitchens.’

DOGGEREL: The Ballad of Bobby and Joe: nov4.2021: Yes, we are not too proud to resort to doggerel to compare the legacies of West Virginia senators Robert C. Byrd and current Sen. Joe Manchin. The legacy match-up is not looking good for Joe, right now.

READINGS: Three from “Corona Time Capsule”: sep10.2021: ‘Feed Them on Peaches,’ ‘Grass Fire,’ and ‘¡Ya Basta!’ — three excerpts of poetry and prose from poet James Cochran’s forthcoming book “Corona Time Capsule.”

POETICS: The Art of Being West Virginia’s Poet Laureate: march18.2021: We sit down — digitally — with longtime West Virginia poet laureate Marc Harshman and quiz him about his “Dispatch From the Mountain State” in the NYTimes and the obligation of a poetry to be the sort of “political being” described by W.H. Auden.

PARADIGM SHIFTING: Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Life in the Trenches of Poetry: feb24.2021: Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s storied life came to a close this Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, at the remarkable age of 101. I was blessed to interview him in 1995. What this “ageless radical and true bard” had to say — not to mention his poetry — remains timely and pertinent.

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