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Appalachian Christmas Day

by Richard Reed Jr
copyright 12-11-2006

Age Rating: 7 +
Appalachian Christmas Day

When the wind hurls howls
like packs of starving wolves
and soft clumps of snow
fall silently over the edge of the world
to rapidly disintegrate
into sparkling bits of sunshine
spreading light showers across the sky

When you hear the sound of ice
cracking dried out trees around you
and the cold clings to your body
like a hundred thousand needles
stabbing jabbing shooting
through the bones
to make the muscles twinge
like sadness throbs the heart
at a friend's so-long song

When your vision sharpens seeing
through your freezing frosted breath
and the bright blazing day of amber
is as clear as crystal ice
you can lean out over the edge
and the frozen streams below will appear
another Appalachian Christmas day is here

A black limousine crawls carefully
down the twisting mountain roads
a shadowy slipping sliding bug-like object
looking as out of place
as a silver spoon stirring coffee
in a plastic mug
a wrong turn somewhere
suddenly he is here

Driving through miles
of a beauteous lush of
an almost forsaken wilderness
speckled with indigent wooden shacks
scattered across the snow-topped land
bits and pieces of human dreams
rejected as valueless and unfit

Smoking chimneys like red brick pipes
sticking out of the snow-gray sky
appear here and there
a reminder of the huge stacks
of a factory in the valley
where like fingers jutting upward
into the sky they make obscene gestures
to the surrounding
mining and manufacturing community

Labor that can not read or write comes cheap
a malignant tumor of profit margin swells
a few thousand more souls let go this morning
the pondering of the next to go
like picks that pound on coal
strike home the current fear
another Appalachian Christmas day is here

Unlit pines stand mostly bare and stark
in each and every wooden house
the fireplaces behind them
bring each one to life
as do the stories and joking laughter
told around a hand-built table
the only Christmas presents here
are the ones that are being eaten

No one wears a store-bought suit
the clothes are home made hand-me-downs
the limousine-man's maid
takes home a bigger check
than the home folks eating here
after dinner banjos fiddles guitars and such
slip into ready eager hands
families regale on music
and lift their faith-filled voices
to the sharply knitted dark night air
of the shadowy owl's terrain

Crisp and clear the joyous refrains
ride on wings of Christmas angels
they overtake the limousine
they overcome its driver
who every year on Christmas day
sits in his factory
tallying profits alone
over an illusionary family fare
another Appalachian Christmas day is here

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        12-16-2006     Tabitha Beaudin        

Richard once again you wrote a masterpicece your language is soo rich and full of life. It really captured the felling of this piece. Great job...

        12-12-2006     Regina Pate        

I love how your words run right into each other, its almost as if they belong there. Wow, this is the kind of writting I strive for. I can't seem to get back to it. Great write, good job, thanks


        12-12-2006     Brian Dickenson        

You keep excelling yourself. How vivid a picture you paint.
The Appalachian Mountains have always sounded a magical place to me.
Obviously my glasses were rose tinted.
None the less, your words bring them to life, albeit a hard one.
When I read about the injustices and the poverty in your country I do question those words.
Land of the free and home of the brave, where all men are equal.
Obviously some more than others.
Happy Christmas.

        12-11-2006     David Pekrul        

Sounds like a modern-day story of Scrooge. You have painted quite a picture here. I could almost feel the cold (actually it reminded me a lot of what it was like when I lived up north).
The picture of Christmas sounded wonderful and I would rather experience this Christmas with the poor worker than with the owners of the businesses.

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