Living Above the Frost Line is a dwelling place for practicing poets. It is the home of poet, Nancy Simpson. Above the Frost Line we give ourselves some extra growing time. Yes, we know the hard freeze will come, but until it arrives, we shall grow and share our poems.
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."
TWO POEMS BY POET OF THE MONTH SHELBY STEPHENSON In This His Birth Month
Welcome Poetry Lovers. I imagine you will be saying that I saved the best for the last of the month. Yes, These are powerful poems. I have been rereading and enjoying the poems of Poet Shelby Stephenson this month and I hope you have also. Leave a comment if you have time.
THIS PLACE, THEIR PRAISE
This place, their praise: hill and house,
Where they have kept the earth for decades−
I am dying for the meadowlark to spill its song
This October day, naming it,
Hoping my mind might ground an image.
The plowman, his sweep spreading
Clods the way a mole might,
And the mule’s neck nodding silence except for trace-chains
Brushing a scab on her side, scrubbing burlap;
The pulling has been so long
A part of the flare her nostrils dribble
Slanting mucous beside the rows,
Closure a drowning
Surrender toward persistence
Preceding this thrusting angle to pen in furrow-time
The way the mule’s eyes weep
One fabric, women and men,
Slaves under unmarked ground
There in the Old Stephenson Cemetery ,
Boundless as the ground’s
Silence the slaves were buried in−
Coming here, I cross the stream,
Remember an old woman over a washpot,
Stirring cracklins, unrest brought low,
The tale, untold, still, its bobends
Dobbing at seed-zero
This spot, the sun on my foot,
My seat a November slant of summertime
Holding the ragged one over the cauldron,
Her fires many colors whirling centuries,
Fringes I try to place.
Into the boiling organpipe, what musicale,
Raking the hand that strokes the nostrils−
A run away mule, a beloved child,
Smaller than a Halloween ghost swaddled in leaves
Left out of a trickster’s oven overnight.
Overall the hammer-sun nails the daisies.
The soil breaks for a new house.
(Acknowledgement: Solo Café 8 & 9)
THE FARM THAT FARMS NEW HOUSES
Beside the poinsettias
Blowing out of the graveyard,
A bull, forsaken,
Suns among the granite.
Fields brown the dozer’s tread.
Wood, nails, cement, a pile of bricks−
With every hammer’s fall, a cul-de-sac.
My farmboy throws up his hands,
Hoes his row, blows his nose, rubs his neck.
Freckles forlorn his shoulders round.
Hill upon hill, ridges, mounds,
He works through hail and hell.
Streetlamps leap his face’s glow.
He roaches his hair.
The sweet surround crowns his scars.
Delusion weighs brick entrances, cars,
Moneyed ease his red neck
They are farming houses right up to the creek.
No more skipperbugs skating and fish rolling in shallows.
The forkedtailed channelcat, pumpkinseed, rockbass, horsefish, suckers−gone−
The upsidedown leaves, limbs surfacing reflections, the little yellow and white
Butterflies bouncing at my feet!
What of this place I keep?
How shall my body
Leave the creek’s throat in my bones?
(Acknowledgement: The Rambler)
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