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Showing posts with label An Appalachian Songbook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label An Appalachian Songbook. Show all posts

Friday, November 28, 2008

An Appalachian Songbook by Kathryn Stripling Byer

On Thanksgiving Day, I had something special for dessert. WDAV fm station ran the recording of "An Appalachian Songbook," a composition by Kenneth Frazelle, with soprano Jacquelyn Culpepper, pianist Phillip Bush, and me reading poems from WILDWOOD FLOWER and BLACK SHAWL interwoven into the musical fabric. This recording was made at St. Peter's Church, where the Charlotte Chamber Music Series has become a popular program in the area. You may download it at WDAV.org, where you will also find information about the performers. (http://www.wdav.org/printable_html.cfm?page=1_222_0&cat=1&subcat=222&subsub=0&do=view&id=210)



Here are two poems from the program:

DULCIMER


No, I'll not listen.
The sound of it's too sweet,
like honey I licked from the spoon
while he sat on my porch
and played Shady Grove.
"You are the darling of my heart,
stay till the sun goes down."

I remember the hoot owl came closer.
Moths burned their wings in his candle wick.
"Midnight," I said,
and his fingers stirred wind from the strings,
begging, Stay, while he cradled the wood in his lap

for a last song, the hazel-
green eyes of a lost lady.
Weep Willow.
Soul of the laurel shade.

"Come," he said, pointing through dark
to the bed of leaves
we'd gathered, wildflowers strewn
on a pillow of moss.
But I sent him away,
letting go of his hand
without whispering as I do
now when my wits fail me, oh my
sweet, nothing
but sweet
good for nothing man.

from Black Shawl, (LSU press 1998)



EMPTY GLASS

Last night I stood
ringing my empty glass
under the black empty sky
and beginning, of all

things, to sing. The mountains
paid no attention.
The cruel ice did not
melt. But just for a moment

the hoot owl grew silent.
And somewhere the wolves
hiding out in their dens
opened cold, sober eyes.

Here's to you I sang,
meaning the midnight
the dark moon
the empty well,

meaning myself
upon whom
the snow fell
without any apology.

From WILDWOOD FLOWER (LSU Press 1992)