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from deep, deep down in living (n.d.) Editors’ Note: Published in 1931 or 1932, this pocket-sized paperback chapbook consists of twelve pages; it does not list a place of publication, publication date, or publisher. The collection is dedicated to “G. G. Ward, Poet, Philosopher, and Mountaineer,” an educator and local historian from West’s native Gilmer County , Georgia. Deep, Deep Down in Living Deep, deep down in living Is something I desire, Deep in ages smoldering, An ever living fire. Surging human passion That I cannot define. I feel it in the masses, Mysterious . . . divine. Deep, deep down in living These mighty breakers roll. The spell of living people Has clutches on my soul. Mountain Widow I Shadders on Burnt Mountain. Night a-comin’ on, dusk dark. 02.Poems.97-194/West 12/2/03, 11:49 AM 107 no lonesome road 108 Curtains bein’ pulled like actin’ Over the sleepy hills. Me a-settin’ out so lonesome Listenin’ to whippoorwills. Wonderin’ whur my man is— He went away last morn. Workin’ in Lick Log Narrers Runnin’ a moonshine still. Wish it wusn’t so risky Over th’ Lick Log Hill. Wish I’d see my man now A-trompin’ over th’ ridge. Wish my man had money An’ didn’ haf to be A-workin’ in Lick Log Narrers Allus away frum me. II Fetched him home by moonlight Frum over th’ Lick Log Hill. Down th’ trace by Mealers, My man so cold an’ dead. Revenues raided th’ Lick Log. Thur bullets went thru his head. Wish it wusn’t so risky Over th’ Lick Log Hill. Mountain Boy You are more than a dirty child In patched overalls. You mountain boy . . . ! The hills are yours. The fragrant forests, The silver rivers Are your heritage. Dreamers. Thinkers. 02.Poems.97-194/West 12/2/03, 11:49 AM 108 selected poems 109 Rise up, young hillmen. Sing your ballads. Dream your future. Up and down your valleys, Over the ridge-roads. Climb your jagged mountains. Gaze into blue space . . . Turn your thoughts free. Nourish your imagination. What will you do for your hills, You mountain boy? Love the soil. Your father’s blood Made it rich. His sweat has caused fruit to grow. Sift the coarse soil Between your fingers. Exult when it runs between your toes Through brogan shoes As you follow the plow. Yours is the poet’s life. You rhyme the soil, Dig and plant And watch the corn grow. You are the heart of a nation— Even America. O farmer boy, Rise up! Sing your songs, Live your life Even as you know how! Harlan Portraits I’ve seen beauty in Harlan,6 In the trailing arbutus, The dog-fennel and pennyrile In the fence corners, 02.Poems.97-194/West 12/2/03, 11:49 AM 109 no lonesome road 110 And in the forests dressed In a foliage of Rattleweed and ditney. I’ve seen beauty when Grey winter strokes his beard With bony-white fingers, And trees are skeletons Of summer’s glory. But beauty never visits The coal diggers. They live in the coal camps— Dirty shanties, Stinking privies, Grunting pigs, And slop buckets. Hollowed-eyed women With dull hopeless faces Cook soggy wheat biscuits Without grease or milk. Tall gaunt men Eat soggy bread And fat meat. Gulp down black coffee. Work all day— Digging, digging. Everlastingly digging. Grime and dirt And digging. In their dreams they dig And smell unpleasant odors. For beauty Is a stranger To the coal camps . . . 02.Poems.97-194/West 12/2/03, 11:49 AM 110 selected poems 111 Brown Brother To Langston Hughes7 I heard you, my brown skin brother, Sing the songs your people think, Saw the fire that we would smother And the gall that you must drink. We are proud and boast the whiteness In the pigments of our skin, Never think to measure rightness By a soul that burns within. Now I know you seek no pittance From a condescending clan That has failed to give admittance Or to treat you like a man. How can you sing songs of gladness, Full of hope and growing cheer? When your people live in sadness With the white man’s curse to fear. Epitaphs For Myself Bones rest here of a mountaineer. His place another fills. He gained from life all that he sought. The friendship of the hills. 02.Poems.97-194/West 12/2/03...


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