Joni Mitchell on the Computer

“Were captive on the carousel of time
We cant return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and roundIn the circle game”

“Take your time, it won’t be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down”

“Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through”

Circle Gamw by Joni Mitchell

As I sat at the computer today during lunch, I was reading Fragments From Floyd archives when I heard the Circle Game come on the computer. I first heard that song in a movie back around 1972 at the Lowe’s Delman Theatre on Main St. in Houston. The movie was Butterflies Are Free and the singer on the soundtrack was Buffy Sainte-Marie,

Every time I hear that song it pulls me back to an earlier time when it was all ahead of me, now after 34 years I find the words a little more prophetic.

Ron Rash, Iris Press

Ron Rash, Iris Press: “

It was last week that David St Lawrence posted about a reading given by Ron Rash in Floyd. I first stumbled onto Ron Rash last year on Garrison Keillor’s email newsletter, The Writer’s Almanac, hear it here. The poem being presented was “The Exchange” from Among the Believers (2000, Iris Press,). Something in the poem really grabbed me ‘cause truth to tell, I don’t normally read poetry…Since then every time I have seen a reference to Mr. Rash and his work, I have paid attention. I am glad I did, and I really wish I could have been in Floyd that night to have heard the words in the voice of the man who wrote them…I am going to post a piece of “The Exchange” here, please go read the whole thing and then try a book or two…

The Exchange Between Wytheville, Virginiaand the North Carolina line,he meets a wagon headedwhere he’s been, seated besideher parents a dark-eyed girlwho grips the reins in her fist,no more than sixteen, he’d guessas they come closer and shedoesn’t look away or blushbut allows his eyes to holdhers that moment their lives pass.He rides into Boone at dusk,stops at an inn where he buyshis supper, a sleepless nightthinking of fallow fields stillmiles away, the girl he mightnot find the like of again.

A bit of family myth and the voice of a poet, with that combination, all of us would have a chance to write the epic of our own mythology.

From the Iris Press website:

Ron Rash’s family has lived in the southern Appalachian mountains since the mid-1700’s, and it is this region that is the primary focus of his writing. Rash grew up in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, and graduated from Gardner-Webb College and Clemson University. He is currently the Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University. He is the author to three books of poetry: Eureka Mill, Among the Believers (2000, Iris Press,) and Raising the Dead (2002, Iris Press); and two collections of short stories: The Night The New Jesus Fell to Earth (1994), and Casualties (2000.) . He is also author or two acclaimed novels: One Foot in Eden (2002,) and Saints at the River (2004,) and one book for children: The Shark’s Tooth.

His poetry and fiction have been published in over 80 journals and magazines including Yale Review, Georgia Review, Oxford American, New England Review, Southern Review, Shenandoah and DoubleTake. Ron Rash has received frequent awards and recognition for his writing, including The Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year Award for 2003 and Forward Magazine’s Gold Medal for Best Literary Novel of 2002, both for his debut novel, One Foot in Eden.”

North Carolina

A few months back I heard a singer-songwriter on a segment of NPR. His name was Jon Randall and he was one of the two writers (Bill Anderson was the other) of “Whiskey Lullaby” sung by Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss. He has a CD out and one of the songs I like a lot is North Carolina Moon. Check out the lyrics…

North Carolina Moon

I woke up this morning to the humming of the engines
Hauling nature’s finest from the Gulf of Mexico
Ridin’ this ol’ river is peaceful but it’s lonesome
It makes wonder how the old folks are at home
(chorus)
Now the years have blown by me like
the wind through the pines
But the song of the south is ever sweet
as homemade wine
Oh how I miss those mountains when the
Laurels are in bloom
And the southern stars are dancin’
’round a North Carolina moon

Just rolled through Memphis I could
hear them guitar’s a playing
They had the blues so bad it almost broke my heart
Don’t sound nothing like a band of tree frogs singing
When every now and then they’d get in tune
with grandpa’s harp
(repeat chorus)
When I die boys make me this promise
You’ll send my body back up North Carolina way
I don’t want no tombstone just lay me next to mama
And let the honeysuckle grow wild upon my grave
(repeat chorus)
(JON RANDALL, RONNIE STEWART)

Go ahead and follow the link above, there are a number of good songs on his CD…

For a great article on Mountain Laurel, see this (The Sweet Mountain Laurel of Spring) in the Blue Ridge Gazette.