This Morning/Passing Through South Carolina
By Bill Gramley
Was that first morning long ago so different
from this morning?
Was it red and raging or molten and calm?
How soon did the hydrogen atoms form particles of light?
What time was it?
Was it not the same as I saw this morning, breaking through the mist of my backyard
with pigments pink as it bounced off the dried leaves and branches of the trees?
Was it not the first of unending dawns, always on time, set like a table, piled with peeled peaches and cream ready for my taking?
Or like fresh cut flowers in a crystal bowl, daffodils, prepared for me to enjoy and savor?
From whence did it come: this very morning, this one, today?
How did it brush away the stars so that I could see it?
Did it come down from above the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change as a Biblical writer once put it?
Did I even stop to look at this morning and pause a moment before I rushed into the day, forgetful and oblivious to what I had just been given so freely?
Bill Gramley is a local author and painter. This poem received the Bronze Award at the 2016 Second Spring Arts Festival literary competition.
Passing Through South Carolina
By Phillistine Poole
I see a farmhouse from the highway and see
Grandma’s house once more, the swept wood floors, the wood stove,
the white horseshoe above the kitchen door,
the fireplace and the fields,
the long, lush reach of trees,
Grandpa coming in, in dusty overalls,
Grandma on the front porch shelling peas.
I see them sitting in lamplight at sunset
when their day was done.
I hear them in morning darkness.
They rose before the sun
to face down debt, drought, destruction.
They rose to work another day, and grew crops, Grandma’s flowers
and eleven children on this bit of clay.
They praised God and blessed the harvest
of a sharecropper’s toil.
Their blood, bones and spirits bind me
to this soil.
Phillistine Poole wrote this poem in memory of her maternal grandparents, Robert and Essie Ashley, who lived in York County, S.C. This poem received the Gold Award in the Second Spring Arts Festival literary competition.