A! Magazine for the Arts

Delilah Ferne O'Haynes

Delilah Ferne O'Haynes

Featured Poems

April 24, 2007

Her first book, an artistic collaboration of poetry and photography entitled The Character of Mountains, has been nominated for the Appalachian Book of the Year award. O'Haynes is currently Creative Writing Professor at Concord University in West Virginia and owns a publishing company, Walk Free Press. She is a member of the Appalachian Authors Guild based in Abingdon.

Little Oak
(written for Kathleen)

You look frail
among the big trees,
with their lofty limbs,
their towering solemnity.

Yet you, alone,

Storms have raged-
winds whipped,
snapping poplar limbs;
soaking rains
uprooted pines;
hail ripped
fragile maple leaves.

You thickened branches.

Droughts dried
your life source-
gnarled cypress trunks,
withered apple leaves,
browned evergreens.

You added bark.

You will withstand
the coming gale;
your roots
reach deep
and you
can bend.


So much of you remains baked into biscuits,
fluffy white perfections you kneaded in a bowl
of flour, choked off, placed on a charred pan
and topped with cow butter
from your chipped churn.

You loiter about crusty cornbread,
lingering in its sweetness, the softness
of its inside, the crunchy bottom.
I hear your chatter in the sizzle of gravy
in a cast-iron skillet, the scrape of
metal spoon against the sides-
brown gravy, gritty cornmeal gravy,
creamy smooth chocolate gravy.

You swim in gallons of sassafras tonic,
its burgundy root simmering sweet in the pot;
in steamy bowls of vegetable soup, spiked
with red-hot peppers that burn my tongue
and pop sweat on my brow;
in huge kettles of soup beans,
sorted, soaked all night,
simmered all day on the cook stove.

Every chance I get, I smother
a homemade biscuit
with sweet, creamy butter
and gobble you down.

READ ON: Click on this link for more poems by O'Haynes: http://artsmagazine.info/articles.php?view=detail&id=2007042421345097859