Wednesday, July 6, 2011


today, by chance, I came across this poem by James Still. I had to read it aloud three or four times to hear it. poetry does that to me. losing myself in the sounds of the words strung together and their place on the page is an experience entirely different from just "understanding" a poem.

I shall not leave these prisoning hills
Though they topple their barren heads to level earth
And the forests slide uprooted out of the sky.

Though the waters of Troublesome, of Trace Fork,
Of Sand Lick rise in a single body to glean the valleys,
To drown lush pennyroyal, to unravel rail fences;
Though the sun-ball breaks the ridges into dust
And burns its strength into the blistered rock

I cannot leave. I cannot go away.

Being of these hills, being one with the fox
Stealing into the shadows, one with the new-born foal,
The lumbering ox drawing green beech logs to mill,
One with the destined feet of man climbing and descending,

And one with death rising to bloom again, I cannot go.

Being of these hills I cannot pass beyond.

ahhh I love this valley. I'm so selfish, but I think I live in one of the loveliest places in the states. Despite my incurable desire for travel and adventure, I'm not sure if I'll ever find a place as beautiful and dear to me as these rolling hills.


  1. Wow, that's an amazing photograph. Do you really live there?

    That poem actually made me sad.

    Oh, I wanted to mention though that when you wrote that you're about to get a foot hacked off, I thought you literally meant YOUR FOOT. I had to read that again and realize it has to do with the hair comment. Hahaha.


  2. That is a beautiful poem, and a beautiful photo! The view out of my window is a bit different than that (ie, more flat) but I love the hills too.

  3. I totally identify. Although the hills where I live are somewhat more dated and shire-esque, I'm going to miss them and taking long walks in the countryside when I go away to college. Guh.

    For the record, you have a lovely blog and phenomenal taste in music (a la 8tracks). :]

  4. It reminds me of Pennsylvania.

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