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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

POETRY by Lena Cantrell McNicholas

Lena Cantrell McNicholas
Lena Cantrell McNicholas

By Lena Cantrell McNicholas | March 25, 2008

Reunion 2004

The author was President of the Class '54
In Memory and Honor of You,
My Classmates, at Pound High School

As we meet again
50 years after
the day we were launched
to Unknown places

What do we bring to
this Occasion
that others have not
brought before?

Faded memories of childhood
friends, broken hearts
mended again and again
for some.

Graying hair — or None
thickening waists
and sagging bodies
Outward signs of time passed
And here we are,Old!

But I say,
Old does not travel
the distance to share the Joy.
To Celebrate what we were,
where we came from,
and what we were to become.

We knew each other before
we met at wooden desks,
Wrote on slate with crumbling chalk
and did our sums.

Our Blood knew what was passed
along by those who
bore and raised us.

Our Blood was fed with mountain mists,
water that sparkled then
splashed from deep wells
and clear springs.

Our Blood was fed with
sweet sunlight corn,
tomatoes hot from the vine.

Wild grass, juicy berries
nuts so rich
Sustained hillside cows
fattened hogs
and scratching chickens.

'Til cupboards, smoke houses
and root cellers
were stacked high
Keeping fierce mountain winds,
piled snow and Hunger at Bay.

We knew this when we met.

Now I long to know and ask,
Where did you go?
What did you do?

When you stepped from
that stage
Rolled sheet in hand
tied with a ribbon.
Stepped from the left-handshake
to face the rest of your Life?

Where did you go?
What did you do?

# # #

Lena McNicholas says, "Reading, writing and performing have been vital parts of my life as long as I can remember. I find great joy in sharing my stories. My greatest writing influences have been Appalachian Heritage and Now and Then [magazines], Lee Smith, Lou Crabtree, Ron Rash, and a long list of Appalachian writers...My friends in Appalachian Poets and Writers in Abingdon listened and encouraged my efforts enough for me to continue."

Born and raised in Pound, Va., she is a graduate of Radford College and has lived and taught in Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, Texas, Venezuela and Nigeria. While in Abingdon, she owned Litchfield Hall Bed and Breakfast, and was a teacher-speaker at the College for Older Adults at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center. She is now retired and living in Charlottesville, Va. where she is a member of the Blue Ridge Chapter of Writers Club of Virginia and a poetry group. Her work includes poetry, memoirs, essays, short stories and vignettes. She has published in Appalachian Heritage, Coalfield Progress, Abingdon Virginian, Bristol Herald Courier, Appalachian Women's Journal, Clinch Mountain Review, and Wind: The Hindman.

# # #

Meet the poets featured in the April issue of A! MAGAZINE FOR THE ARTS and read their poetry by following the links below:

Samuel Miller, M.D.
Poetry Events
Arts All Around: A Day Without Poetry by Barbara-lyn Morris
Arts for Youth Spotlight: ETSU Senior Researches Japanese Poet
Back to the main story by Rita Quillen
Jane Hicks
Felicia Mitchell
Delilah O'Haynes
Neva Bryan
Rees Shearer
Gretchen McCroskey
Benjamin Dugger
Warren Meredith Harris
David Winship
Henry McCarthy