Connie Jordan Green

Ten Ways of Looking at an Appalachian Woman


Among ten tall mountains
the most enduring being is a woman.

When the stars were flung across the galaxy
the first cells foretold her appearance.

She is known for her ability to create supper
from a handful of meal and a piece of fatback.

Veins of coal are nothing
compared to iron in her arteries.

Words are pebbles in her mouth.
She spits them into stone walls.

Her silence is a scolding.

Before dark she does
the work of many men.

I know not which is most beautiful—
the grace of her body when she is young
or her will when she matures.

A man and a woman are one,
but a man and a mountain woman
are like the girding of a steel structure.

When she comes at last to rest,
even the ravens fold up their glossy wings.

Connie Jordan Green lives on a farm in East Tennessee where she writes and gardens.  She is the author of two award-winning novels for young people (The War at Home and Emmy) and two books of poetry (Slow Children Playing and Regret Comes to Tea). Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Since 1978 she has written a weekly newspaper column for The Loudon County News Herald. She leads writing workshops and teaches writing and literature courses for Oak Ridge Institute of Continued Studies.