Thursday Feb 29

Kathryn-Stripling-Byer Kathryn Stripling Byer has published five books of poetry including Wildwood Flower, (LSU , 1992, Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets), Catching Light, (LSU, 2001, SIBA BOOK of the Year in Poetry) and Coming to Rest (LSU, 2006). She is the 2007 recipient of the Hanes Award in Poetry from the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

A native of southern Georgia, she studied with Fred Chappell and Robert Watson in the MFA Writing Program at UNC-Greensboro. Her poetry and essays have appeared in journals ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. She lives in Cullowhee, NC, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains.




For my father

When Kelly flew over the farm
with your ashes,
the field you had chosen
as resting place waited
for you, October
light keen
as a ploughman’s blade
slicing through sod.

When Kelly’s plane rose
over loblollies,
trailing its message-
smoke, we knew
you’d settled yourself
into alfalfa stubble,
eternally comfortable
inside the dirt
you had tilled.

What a helluva way
to come home,
Daddy. Oh
you knew all along
what you wanted,
a cropduster’s yellow plane
diving so low
the weeds shimmied,
while you floated down,
in no hurry
at last, to the earth
you claimed
always knew you
better than
you knew yourself.


The Sun

scared me, unmoving
at noon, no shadows anywhere.
Dead time. I stood still
and waited. For what

I don’t know. Will I ever?
My question hangs like the bell
that stayed harrows
and tractor wheels. The midday

meal. Of the Gods
grinding slowly I understood
only that sooner or later each furrow
arrives at the edge of the field.