October Newsletter


October 2018 Issue 2
From Kenya to the USA, the world is a place of wonder

A story has haunted me for years. It is about a woman’s journey from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to the banks of the Osage River in Missouri. Her family was frontiersmen and women. The Willian Smith Bryan family came to the American shores in 1600’s when Cromwell and the Parliamentarians forced them from Ireland. They were given a choice, fight your Irish Catholic neighbors and family or emigrate. The rebellious Bryans were transported on a ship that sailed to Gloucester Beach, Virginia. There are two versions of this story. One, they end up in Pennsylvania after a son returns to Ireland in 1650 to reclaim their lands. The other, has the family fleeing to Denmark in the years of conquest when Henry II of England was given sovereignty of Ireland. I’m a novelist. I can choose which fits the narrative.
I’ve begun, halted, researched and traveled to Rebecca Bryan Boone’s homesteads. I’ve smelled the land, viewed the rolling Virginia hills, traversed parts of her journey to the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina. What escapes me is her voice. Was she curt, soft spoken, witty? If I model her after my grandmother, a descendant, she will be gracious and long-suffering. Does she have the gift of helps, like the woman called the saint of the neighborhood in her Oregon home?
Unearthing my manuscript, I’m making another attempt at telling her journey into the unknown. The world has heard of her husband Daniel’s adventures. It has been put into story and film from the Last of The Mohicans to folk lore, but the woman whose oldest son was murdered in a Kentucky clearing has been mute. I long for her voice to sing.
Every family has a journey, with hiccups, false starts and wanderings. What makes your story, sing?


Songs From September

Ecclesiastes 3:1
There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every event under heaven


My garden dreams lie
under a blanket
of burnt pine needles
and saffron leaves.
Rain without thunder
the chilled gazebo
and poison-green grass.
Grapevines twine
hemlock trees.
We hunt for pungent fruit
in forest foliage.
A summer reprise of
deep velvet nights
tourmaline days
drive us
to trim bushes
and fill
the wood box.
September has come
too soon,
before summer’s romance
like my rose garden.

SISTERS: The Shape of Life

They came from Oregon to Chicago, traveling by coach and train over the smooth miles.
The sisters’ locks were now gray, their fingers gnarled with age. I met them in Michigan. My mother’s blue-green eyes sparkled with anticipation. She hadn’t been in Kentucky since World War II when my father was stationed at Fort Knox. My aunt had never walked the trails of her ancestors.
I had expected an unfolding of stories. The words came of their Kentucky born mother, and the tears she’d shed remembering the hollers of her Appalachian childhood.
From our days of wandering and meeting kin, grew poems.

The Kentucky River
a plaintive melody.
The blood
of past battles
dark rocks
as a woman
sips the landscape
with a dry soul.
Blue eyes
the vintage
of whitened
splatters like blood
the name of a forebearer carved
in limestone.
A lifetime
of waiting
etches the wander’s brow.
Eighty-one years,




A  homesick mother’s tears
drew her daughters to
a land where dogwood tentacles
grip gray-green cliff sides.
Mist tendrils curl
through the hollars and coves
of Owsley county.
Twisty mountain roads
rush heavenward
sky kisses limestone
and shadows play
among waterfalls.
Faerie land of
primeval forest,
where cabins cling
on the blue maze of ridges.
Deer dance free
between fragrant pine,
proud hardwood stands
and haloed dogwood.