A native of upper East Tennessee, Jane Hicks is an award-winning poet and quilter. Her poetry appears widely in journals and anthologies. She is author of the prize-winning collection Blood and Bone Remember. Her “literary quilts” illustrate the works of playwright Jo Carson and novelists Sharyn McCrumb and Silas House; one became the cover of her own book. The art quilts were the subject of a feature in Blue Ridge Country Magazine in an issue devoted to arts in the region. Jane expects a new poetry book to be published in 2013.
“… the smell of dirt, always
the smell of dirt . . .” Kathryn Stripling Byer
In the half-light of winter when sullen skies hang heavy
and gloomy souls seek sunlight, I walk out, let the cold clean
and lift me, discover what the snow drapes and reveals:
rectangular holes of woodpeckers lodged in long dead trees,
green crowns of mistletoe in stately oaks, turkey scratch
and doe step to be scried for wisdom.
Fires, quilts, hunkering down with books in a golden circle of light
rest the body, grow the soul. It’s the smell of dirt, earth thaw
that presses me down and down until I walk out on moonless nights,
seek cool respite from the angry eye of summer.
My bones cannot forget clouded places
of misty days and wind-spirited nights
where elders nod, children huddle in furs,
and firseshine glitters harp strings in great halls
while winter howls as golden eyes lurk in the dark.
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