I copied it and pasted it into our exchange in “The Rewind” on April 8th. It’s there for you to read. Please be honest but kind. 🙂

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Thank you, Radha. I didn't see it come through, but will look for it. Can't wait :-)

And not to worry about either my honesty or my kindness. I know what writing from the heart entails! HUGS.

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No, but I believe that Maury County in MTN is my navel of the universe. My paternal relatives have lived and died there for eight generations. I have a series I’ve worked at over this past year. I’ll see if I can post it on my substack. “Eorthcraeft 1”

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Jena Ball


I In the Beginning

Sun’s horn brushes soil and lovers

Breathe breath of each other

Till space between them becomes no space

And each one breathes in each other

Woman, white waist and rose-white past twilight

Breast rise, thigh fall, her sidle

Vivid in shadow, no shadow, fervent

Beneath oaks. Amid leaves and acorns.

Her hands haul the haunch of him

Upward and his horn slants into a still core

Of liquid and fire. Sable skin limned in moonlight.

They gasp on limestone stria under soil’s skin.

He rises and plunges, leaving behind him a life

At her pounding core and their lives plunge

Toward decay, through sere husks of locusts

Moulted and wrapped in tendrils of grass

Then dragged under earth’s lid, mingled

In dank air with fungus and blunt

Edges of brittle leaves, matching the motion

Of lovers. That pattern remains, a constant,

White bones and rose-white in moonlight

Pale breast and dark skin melded, blanched

In sunlight, dissolving in rain through time,

A lean geometry endures a while, ebbs, then echoes

A while, then shatters, scatters its seed wide, trusts

Time to stir another pattern of planes in this place,

There, over there, an oasis of oaks forms

Under boughs’ break, a gasp again, pattern reforms

In water and fire, brown earth and breath,

Her blonde hair brushes his drenched cheek,

Brown as though formed from this earth

Her arms and thighs swathe his sweating spine.

Each of them breathes in each other

And here lies heaven, a collision of matter

Plunged hot like beaten iron into water

Steaming, rising perdurable, molded

By impact into new forms, matter eternal

Held in the gods’ hands, gods hanging in azure air

Molding ecstasy into life,

Fixing fragrance fast in earth.

Copywrite 2020 Radha Nichole Smith

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I grew up nearby in the ETN mountains. It’s difficult to think of myself as exogenous to that place.

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Why would you? Wendell Berry talks about belonging to places - that there is a place on the planet where we each belong and become part of. It sounds like ETN maybe that place for you. I am still in search of that place for myself, though I have lived and felt part of many spots on Earth. Since you are a poet have you written anything about ETN? If so, I'd love to read it.

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This story was interesting. I haven't been back to the Smoky Mountains in what seems like geological EPOCHS so it kinda took me back. Hiking for HOURS on little - known trails ( which I WOULDN'T ATTEMPT now ) even finding a couple of caves / cavelets on the way.


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Thanks for reading a long Daniel. I'm having a good time learning not only about the mountains but the indigenous people who lived there.

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