Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Night of Bluegrass

Go ahead and cut the top off-a that mountain
to get your coal, Mr. High Pockets. You
can't cut that high-pitched wail out of the air
where the mountain was
and shall ever be, in God's eyes.

And all them strings get picked and strummed,
chorded and teased, til a tune is tightly braided,
careful and true, like the long gray hair
of a matriarch reading her Bible in blue
moonlight, rocking and praying. She's

as heart-broken and reconciled as a ballad
about some young'ns gone too soon. Music
of the hills distills sadness, strains it
through an upright tradition
that Nashville goddamn tried to ruin.
But could not.


hans ostrom 2015






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