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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."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Recognition" by Shelby Stephenson - POET OF THE MONTH JUNE, 2011

 by Shelby Stephenson 

     I'm an ordinary man. I am with you in the shade.  I feel 
the edge of lying back against the bark and I view the shaking 
sun on the lake, the lay of the horizon. 
     My frayed feelings swell and swallow up the least 
utterance reaching out where the road and the water move 
together.  The relating debris scatters enough tiny reckonings 
to force off  aremembrance of tomorrows, the clouds of the 
brows, a meeting of blue highs, thighs, the setting sun in the 
grimace on the runner's face when she trips and falls.  What 
is an elegy but the going for the finish line that begins the race 
      The resistances come out willingly.  I was dreaming 
of getting some place and looking back and saying, "This is it," 
but no, that's just the way the cast light plays the tin roof, lays 
corners smooth as spheres or the slimber reaches of 
      Why can't I put simple pleasures in the world, using 
ticky!tacky, an August ice!sale, say, a leaf slipping down to 
roll the dust imperceptibly, a scraggly attempt at the end of 
the road, a detour to establish a reality of things with the 
knowledge that the words I should have said long ago I have 
not said and cannot, Lord, cannot. 
     We brush and sweat, wash and wet our bloom.  
We enter that part of ourselves cast aside to drift.  There doubt 
settles.There our splendor goes unnoticed, for we are a scanty 
piece that stretches into regions where the spirit and the body 
are one and the tomatoes on the vine wait to be picked and 
eaten. I want to become a plain and let your crop grow in my 
approaches to the weather, but I cannot account for the purpose 
of the simple life I did not choose. 
      You have some idea of my revival, but I cannot tell you to 
what extent my bones ache in the curve, a jar in the arm resting
comfortably on the sofa. That you will understand is my wish,
if only for a moment when my hands lie in my lap like dried okra.

Previously published in Southern Poetry Review

1 comment:

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Shelby Stephenson is one of my favorite poets. I took his poetry class at the John C. Campbell Folk School and enjoyed it very much. He and his wife, Linda, are wonderful people.