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Nancy Simpson's LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE, New and Selected Poems was published by Carolina Wren Press (N.C. Laureate Series, 2010.) She is the author of ACROSS WATER and NIGHT STUDENT, State Street Press, still available on WWW at Alibris and Books Again. Her poems have been published in Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review and other literary magazines. "Carolina Bluebirds" was published in THE POETS GUIDE TO THE BIRDS, Anhinga Press). "Grass" was reprinted in the 50th Anniversary Issue of Southern Poetry Review: DON'T LEAVE HUNGRY ( U.of Arkansas Press.) Seven poems were reprinted in the textbook, SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN POETRY,(McFarland.) Two poems were published in SOLO CAFE, Two more poems were published in SOLO NOVO."In the Nantahala Gorge" was published in Pisgah Review. "Studying Winter" was reprinted in Pirene's Fountain Anthology and "The Collection" in Collecting Life Anthology. Most recently, Southern Poetry Review Edited by James Smith, published "Our Great Depression," and The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. VII: NORTH CAROLINA,Edited by William Wright, reprinted "Leaving in the Dead of Winter."

Monday, April 25, 2011

THE GRAVEDIGGER'S ROOTS - Four More poems by Robert S. King

FOUR Poems from The Gravedigger’s Roots

The Ghost in the Barn Light

The bright animal brings the dawn in,
the sun a yolk in his pail of water.
In its mirror the bent farmer washes his hands,
fist deep in his own image, the seeds
in his pockets ready for burial.

Halfway to his digging,
he passes through my open arms,
through the porous weight of my caring.
I want to warm my hands on his brow, sing,
“Do not crack your head to hatch the soul . . .”
But I am music too light to touch down.

I pass through so many walls
without touching.

--first published in Pendragon

The Suit with the Missing Buttons

On a door nail
my black suit hangs by the neck,
its pockets swollen with moths,
their brief wings turned to flakes of ash.

Moths eat little of the fabric of darkness.
Only they chew small holes
where the stars fall through.

Outside the late sun, a little wheel,
bounces on the horizon.
The darkness of my suit spreads over the bed.
One more button lets go,
rolls around the floor,
its voice disappearing
into a silent hole.
--first published in Poems That Thump in the Dark

Discoveries of the Shovel

I cannot believe in silver spoons
when I was born with a shovel in my mouth.

Oh, I could say gravediggers think deeper than most,
say that the shovel is a tongue
which both uncovers and covers.

But a shovel turns the world
with a slurring voice,
like a man who cuts off his ears
and then gives his speech,
reading his own lips in a mirror.

It falls in my hands,
this metal tongue gone rusty,
and only when it hits a rock does it sing.

Yet the blade goes deeper than the man.
So I bend over like a question mark,
lean on it and feel it
sinking deeper than I care to go.

Say it should only nibble at the earth.
Say no to its rough handle, the finger
that pokes closest to my heart,
when it buries old splinters,
like little bodies,
in the gravedigger‘s hands.

                                    --first published in The California Quarterly

Feeding the Body of Earth

if one of us who were cloven to bits
could remember the forest our body on our journey
if one of us could feel the forest sleeping
in us on our stone pillows
then we’d awake all of us by a road
with our murderers in our arms

and we’d rock them in our arms
but one by one we dead fly out of our senses
one by one the tongue the nose the fingers the ears
would all of us forgive the battle for being long
and though the mortal wits fall in five separate fields
five decomposing memories
the wind is still a nerve between us
a spirit clearer than blood
that moves through the grass
to soothe amputated eyes
looking back at us between the blades

and their gaze might hold forever the last thing they saw:
the limbs lift an ax and hack the trunks down
or see each man a battlefield reclaimed by weeds

but there would swell an oak from every weed
there would shine new eyes in every nest
and one of us would be all of us
all our pieces in a gown of acid
one by one dissolving into the body of earth
one by one into the hues of its wings
one by one of us the crows would drop bits of us to their young
and all the roads our nerves would twitch and open wide

                                    --first published in The Chariton Review

Robert S. King's  chapbook titles are When Stars Fall Down as Snow (Garland Press, 1976), Dream of the Electric Eel (Wolfsong Publications, 1982), and Traveller’s Tale (Whistle Press, 1998).
Two full-length titles, The Hunted River and The Gravedigger’s Roots, were published by Shared Roads Press in 2009.
Robert is available for readings, lectures, and workshops. You may contact him at rsking@futurecycle.org

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