I am fortunate to have made a friend some years ago when I first put up the NCWN-West blog, www.netwestwriters.blogspot.com A wonderful writer and interesting woman contacted me. She lived in Morganton, NC near where I vacationed a while ago. I could tell she felt isolated living in a retirement community not knowing many writers. She asked if she could join NCWN-West. I think she was already a member of the North Carolina Writer's Network. I had to tell her she did not live in one of the NC counties that made up the region included in the NCWN-West Program. But I put her name on my Email list and sent her the same information I sent to those who lived in the nine counties SW of Asheville.
Over the years Joan and I have become friends although we have never met face to face. Not too long after my husband passed away, Joan lost her beloved. Now she has moved back up north to be near her children.
Recently someone asked Joan if she missed North Carolina. She wrote this poem in response and shared it with me. It is published here with her permission.
by Joan Cannon
If I wrote a poem about a place I miss
I fear it would lead to empty rooms
whose doors are closed and to qualms
about what a reader might see behind them.
What might I?
Outsize and distant whale backs of blue and purple and grey
that show the hand of majesty and time and decay
—make outsize demands on the viewer’s humility,
they clutch the throat and pull a smile as much as a sigh.
It’s good for the soul to feel so small.
We used to drive to feel the surge of exotic grandeur
that brought a peculiar joy—the kind that makes one sad
...save for the fact that it was there we found a fresh era
with energy to thrill to what was new to us,
that thrust discoveries at us once again.
Horizons so immense beckon with merciless guile
as if we might somehow make them ours—
we who knew the other end of such a monster
from its tail of almost human scale.
The Blue Ridge perhaps dwindles into the Berkshires
I now find gently enfolding. Do I miss those views?
In that place, the last of our matchless road
was ended. We’d had what should have been time enough—
not unlike the months of over half a century before—
like a delayed honeymoon at the end instead of the beginning.
Yes, I’d go there again...
only if I were in the right company.
Joan L. Cannon is a retired teacher, retail manager and author of two novels in paperback Settling and Maiden Run , a collection of short stories called Peripheral Vision, and her latest, a collection of poetry, My Mind Is Made of Crumbs, all available from Amazon and on order from independent booksellers.