Poem, originally published in FRiGG … “Which side are you on …”

Have always been fascinated with the film Harlan County U.S.A., and here’s a poem, originally published in FRiGG, of my own that connects, hopefully, with Barbara Kopple’s vision of the film, with her working process. The house referenced in the poem is a real house not far from where I live. I’ve been there several times.

“Which side are you on …”

         —line from a song in Barbara Kopple’s Harlan County U.S.A.
 

This is the house, white clapboard
in sore need of a fresh coat with
its red tin roof, in the mountains
near the state line where

the filmmaker works on her movie.
The feather tick bed where she sleeps,
where she stares the ceiling into dream,
into a crawlspace of black

dust a mile underground. The fireplace,
charred brick of a hundred stories
to keep her warm. The front porch
swing, with its creaking,

where she sits at dusk, loses herself
in the wet, darkening trees.
The wind to whisper a path
into thick hollows

while she studies her gifts.
And windows, so cool
to touch, to hold the world
as if it were the truth.

         —Roan Mountain, Tennessee, 1976

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~ by samofthetenthousandthings on October 26, 2011.

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