I am Appalachia. by Muriel Miller Dressler.

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I am Appalachia. In my veins Runs fierce mountain pride; the hill-fed streams


Of passion; and, stranger, you don’t know me!


You’ve analyzed my every move–you still


Go away shaking your head. I remain


Enigmatic. How can you find rapport with me–


You, who never stood in the bowels of hell,


Never felt a mountain shake and open its jaws


To partake of human sacrifice?


You, who never stood on a high mountain


Watching the sun unwind its spiral rays:


Who never searched the glens for wild flowers,


Never picked mayapples or black walnuts; never ran


Wildly through the woods in pure delight,


Nor dangled your feet in a lazy creek?


You, who never danced to wild sweet notes,


Outpouring of nimble-fingered fiddlers;


Who never just “sat a spell,” on a porch,


Chewing and whittling; or hearing in pastime


The deep-throated bay of chasing hounds


And hunters shouting with joy, “He’s treed!”


You, who never once carried a coffin


To a family plot high up on a ridge


Because mountain folk know it’s best to lie


Where breezes from the hills whisper, “You’re home”;


You, who never saw from the valley that graves on a hill


Bring easement of pain to those below?


I tell you, stranger, hill folk know


What life is all about; they don’t need pills


To tranquilize the sorrow and joy of living.


I am Appalachia: and, stranger,


Though you’ve studied me, you still don’t know.

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