About Me

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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."

Sunday, October 23, 2016


When one lives on a mountain as I do, Autumn and the season of the changing of the leaves is a long, drawn-out event beginning the first week in September and lasting through the first week in November or later. The joy is seeing each leaf change, one leaf at a time. And all the while, because we are situated "above the frost line" we have flowers blooming in our full sun perennial garden.

The Atlanta newspapers usually announce Peak as occurring around the middle of October but for me, it seldom ever occurs here before the weekend after the 15th of October. Living near the North Carolina-Georgia state lines, I get even an extended season, for when all the leaves are going fast  on the NC mountains, I can drive over to Hiawassee, Blairsville or Blue Ridge Georgia in November and see PEAK  all over again.

PHOTOS BELOW TAKEN OCTOBER 22, 2016 at Winding Stair Gap.( Highway 64 between Hayesville and Franklin, NC. and in our full sun perennial garden.


Thursday, October 13, 2016


Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize in literature, organizers of the award said Thursday.
They lauded the 75-year-old music star "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." With songs like "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are A-Changin'," Dylan created anthems for the anti-war and civil rights movements.

The literature honor is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, the others being prizes in chemistry, physics, medicine and the Nobel Peace Prize.

Since 1901, the prize has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, according to Nobel's will, written "the most outstanding work in an ideal direction." It is presented by the Swedish Academy.

Past laureates include U.S. writers Toni Morrison and Saul Bellow, Britain's Harold Pinter and William Golding, Ireland's Samuel Beckett, Canada's Alice Munro, South Africa's Nadine Gordimer and J.M. Coetzee, Colombia's Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Chile's Pablo Neruda, France's Jean-Paul Sartre, Germany's Gunter Grass, Turkey's Orhan Pamuk and China's Mo Yan. Last year, Svetlana Alexievich of Belarus won the award.

Commet: Bob Dylan's song that rises at the top as "poetry" therefore "literature" for me is "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN MY BLUE EYED SON" Also known as" A HARD RAIN'S A GONNA FALL." 

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall
Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall
And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin'
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin'
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall
Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded with hatred
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall
Published by

Read more:  Bob Dylan - A Hard Rain's A - Gonna Fall Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

THE BEST OF OUR AUGUST 2016 Perennial Garden in the middle of a Deciduous Forest

Welcome to our full sun perennial garden, situated on a mountain in the middle of a deciduous forest.  August, 2016 has been bright in colors of red, purple, gold and other vivid shades: Red Salvia with Dusty Miller, Gloriosa Daisies, False Sunflowers,  Purple Coneflowers and wild asters.

Butterflies on Queen of the Meadow, also Crepe Myrtle with Butterfly Bush and Purple Cone Flower.

"Grow Flowers...That is what I do on Cherry Mountain when not growing poems."
 --     Nancy Simpson

Monday, June 13, 2016

Poet Nancy Simpson Shares Her 2016 Full Sun Perennial Garden in a Forest, on a Mountain

 The Clay County Historical Arts Council, Hayesville, NC, sponsored a tour of Gardens on June 11, 2016 from 10:00 to 4:00. They promised:  

Fairies, Sprites, Gnomes, Elves, Painters, Musicians, Sculptors, Poetry and Song will enliven 6 lovely gardens through which you could wander at your leisure. Could also enjoy delicate savories and classical guitar at  High Tea, Copper Door Garden Patio.  All proceeds were said to go towards CCHAC programming and support for the Old Jail Museum.
The event was enjoyed by all who attended. 

Early on, my full sun perennial garden in the middle of a forest on a Clay County mountain, was considered for the tour they were calling “Art in the Mountain.” I was told my garden was exactly what they were looking for, however because I live on a county road that is not maintained by NC DOT, they decided it was best not to add my garden to the tour. I fully understood but was left broken-hearted.  Those who know me, know the long and disheartening struggle I have had to get NC DOT to reclaim Old Cherry Mountain Trail and maintain this beloved old county road made by the Cherokee long ago.  We have submitted petitions for road  maintenance many times but were turned down each time because DOT is powerful and answerable to no one. As it turns out, I have maintained my road since the 1960s with only a little help. Last year, together three households  paid $40,000 dollars to have the road repaired. I know we are not the only citizens of this county who cannot get road maintenance from DOT. NC DOT has preferred to send our allotted money to Asheville or Charlotte rather than help our local citizens. I must get over this. I know. I must. And I do have my ways to compensate for their short sightedness. Working in my full sun perennial garden is my best way to overcome my DOT disappointment.
(Flowers from my garden enjoyed on June 11, 2016 )


The Art’s Council ‘s List of gardens visited.

2016 Clay County Garden Tour: Garden Descriptions 
Each garden  featured different artists sharing their work, music, poetry readings, and will host a variety of woodland creatures: fairies, sprites, gnomes, elves, and possibly a troll or two. Here is list of gardens that were featured. 
A- Clay County Native Botanic Garden:
This lovely new garden below our Old Jail Museum on US 64 business in downtown Hayesville features unique and beautiful area plantings chosen for their usefulness to early settlers and their beauty and ability to attract different species of birds and butterflies throughout the year. Listen to the sounds of Towns Creek along its boarder and possibly see hidden fairies, elves and other woodland creatures along the way. Sponsored by the CCHAC with a grant from Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, and created by talented area volunteers. Guide: Beth Love 
B- Mountain Valley Park, Downtown:
This lovely “Pocket Park” created and maintained by the Clay County Master Gardeners 5 years ago is located behind the The Copper Door restaurant and Square One, across from the square in Hayesville. It features an array of florals and unusual perennial plants and a colorful mural designed and painted by the HHS art students.
Guide: Susan Patterson 
C- Slaton Garden, Downtown:
Purchased by Wendy and Joe Slaton in 2004, this property at 122 Church Street, 
downtown Hayesville, was once an old service station with a just a few black walnut trees. Working with Linda Milt, Wendy developed a xeriscape landscape plan which uses slow-growing, drought-tolerant plants to conserve water, and to establish a waste-efficient garden with a variety of seasonal colors. Darlene Dickerson did the plantings and walks in 2012.
Guides: Wendy and Joe Slaton 
D- Country Garden, 232 Barlow Fields
Three years ago May and Bill Atkinson transformed 232 Barlow Fields from a garage and gravel basic house into a picturesque home with country gardens and an inviting entrance. They cut back woods to create a large garden, added a multitude of flowers and plants, and totally redesigned the curb appeal to this delightful subdivision directly across from the entrance to Fires Creek.
Guide: May Atkinson 
E- Clay County Schools Agricultural Program Gardens 
205 Yellow Jacket Drive, opposite the Clay County Department of Education Building 
Visit the gardens the Hayesville students have designed and built under the direction of the program instructor, Chris Roberts. Incorporating agri-science and instilling a love for plants and farming, this program has built several raised vegetable beds, a strawberry patch, student-grafted apple trees, a 3rd grade cabbage patch, and they have quail eggs in the incubator.
Guide: Chris Roberts 
F- Daylily Acres, 1440 Bob Penland Road 
Enjoy this gorgeous garden with more than 500 varieties of day lilies, some costing more than $100/plant. Joan and Clay Joppie began this garden in 2000 and it has continued to grow in size and color. Visitors who purchased tickets in advance will receive 2 free day lilies on their tour. 
Guides: Joan and Clay Joppie 
The Copper Door Restaurant: High Tea Garden Patio 
2 Sullivan Street, Downtown Hayesville 
Garden Tour Sponsors: 
The Copper Door 
Following the Muse
Shelagh Whitney, Advantage Realty
Hayesville Pro Hardware
Signs Fast
The Dreaming Dandelion –Reiki 

Sunday, May 1, 2016


On April 20, 2016 Nancy Simpson and other poets celebrated National Poetry Month at Coffee with the Poets, Moss Memorial Library in Hayesville (sponsored by NC Writers Network West.)
Brenda Kay Ledford was also a featured poet. Both poets read springtime poems.This program was started by Glenda Beall during her tenure as Program Coordinator.(Photos taken by Lynn Hamilton Rutherford.)


LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE CELEBRATES SPRING IN THE MOUNTAINS with a look at our full sun perennial garden. Gardening with Mom--all the family including Tim and Gail, Jeremy and Yan,  Lynn.