Jeff Daniel Marion, a native of Rogersville, Tenn., has published seven poetry collections, four poetry chapbooks, and a children's book, Hello, Crow.
His poems have appeared in several literary publications. From 1975-80, he edited The Small Farm, a distinguished regional poetry journal he founded. In 1978 he received the first Literary Fellowship awarded by the Tennessee Arts Commission.
His most recent book, Ebbing & Flowing Springs: New and Selected Poems and Prose, 1976-2001, won the 2004 Independent Publisher Award in Poetry and was named Appalachian Book of the Year by the Appalachian Writers Association. Wind Publications will publish his new collection, Father, in 2009.
Scroll Down to Read Two of His Poems.
The Man Who Loved Hummingbirds
by Jeff Daniel Marion
Once I saw my father
lift from last fall's leaves
below our wide picture window
a hummingbird, victim
of reflected surfaces, the one clue
a single feather clinging above the sill.
He cradled its body in his cupped
hands and breathed across the fine
iridescent chest and ruby throat.
I remembered all the times
his hands became birdcalls, whistles,
crow's caw from a blade of grass.
Then the bird stirred and rose
to perch on his thumb.
As he slowly raised his hand
the wings began to hum
and my father's breath lifted
and flew out across the world.
Reprinted with permission from Ebbing & Flowing Springs, Celtic Cat Publishing, 2002
by Jeff Daniel Marion
We watch the roofers rip loose
patchy shingles, like gods among clouds,
pitch them to earth below.
Time now to turn back,
cover my remaining days
with my grandmother's tin roof
so the rain can sing again
its stories of the journey
here and back, here and back,
the soothing refrain of sleep.
"My father was a blacksmith," my friend
says, "a small boy I stood on a chair
turning a crank to fan the fire, hot
and hotter, my old man knowing the shades
of iron's colors from red to cherry to blue,
his hammer shaping shoes for all the mules
in the zinc mines or whatever else was needed.'
"Old Bob, our farm horse, never strayed
from pasture till the day he was shod.
Lifted the gate latch with his nose and off
he went, clopping those new shoes in a cloud
of dust, neighbors passing word down
the line, "Old Bob's got new shoes again,'
knowing in a day or two he'd come back home,
sure those shoes were on to stay."
Forged in the fire of memory
these words I strike to awaken
from their long silence
so they can ring and ring again,
tempered now to turn round true.
-- Jane Hicks: 'The Ryman Auditorium, 1965'
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