Stories from my little corner of the world, the South. Some are from the present, some from the past...but all are from my heart.

They reflect my thoughts and views, my musing about the world, and each carries with it a bit of my heart
and soul.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Soldier's Promise



It is the pitch black dark of night, but fear not, for I am here.
It is the cold dead of winter, but fear not, for I am here.
It is the scalding heat of summer, but fear not, for I am here.
It is a thunderous pouring rainstorm, but fear not, for I am here.

I am here always,
On watch,
On duty,
On guard.

I am a soldier,
I watch that you might sleep in peace.
I am on duty that you need not worry,
I am on guard that you might be free.

I will be here, forever vigilant, forever ready.
You will be safe on my watch.
You will have no fear on my duty,
You will never know the things I've seen.

I guard your homes, your loved ones, your way of life.
In lost lonely places where no one dare goes,
I trod those paths with caution and care
I keep your prayers close to my heart.

I am here always,
On watch,
On duty,
On guard.
I am a soldier.

Rose S. Williams
©Southernstoryteller~2007

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Desert Earth and Sky


Where desert Earth and Sky meet
multi-hued hills caress the air
ringed layers of terra firma history
rise out of the desert floor,
there's only silence
  except for the wind or raven's call.

Where desert Earth and Sky meet
Native Americans tread lightly
in reverence for ancestors
their spirits linger among the hills
and climb them to touch the sky
arms raised in prayer.


Where desert Earth and Sky meet
I felt my soul stir
its beauty clutching at my heart
its wildness yet untamed
its essence uncaptured
even in photographs.

Where desert Earth and Sky meet~
I visit there often
in my dreams.

Rose S. Williams
©Southernstoryteller~2009

This poem was inspired by this photo and the memory of this beautiful place in the Painted Desert in Arizona. I felt the spirits of those who lived there before us...their voices were in the wind.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Remember ~ A poem in honor of those lost on 9/11/01~

The photos below were taken on Sept 2009 from a memorial set up on the UF Plaza of the Americans. There is a flag in memory of every life lost on that fateful day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Learning to Fly ( A Gift from Micah)

I imagine everyone, as some point in his or her life, has dreamed of flying.  Watching a bird take wing and effortlessly glide from ground to nest, and from limb to limb, makes us long for the feeling of freedom that flight must afford.
I no longer have to wish for the joy of flight for I experienced it. Yes, it was in a dream, but a dream so real and spectacular that I felt a lightness in my soul that I've never before experienced.
I was given a glimpse of the ultimate joy, the inexplicable experience of how things might be after we leave our earthly forms. It was rare gift, precious and sorely needed, that allowed me to "be" with my nephew who died in last June.
When Micah was killed in an ATV accident last June, we were all in a state of shock at first. Accidental death is always difficult, but especially so when it snatches a young one from our grasp. Micah dying at fourteen was not an experience that any of us would have ever imagined.
After the first week of shock and grief, depression took hold of me in a way I had never experienced. Getting up each morning was difficult beyond description, food was tasteless. I felt an intense anger in my heart for what had been taken from all of us, most especially my brother.
Crying became a daily event, triggered by the slightest things sometimes; a cartoon show he used to watch (Sponge Bob SquarePants), one of his hats hanging on the back of the door at my parents house at Fargo, a photo of him that popped up on my screensaver…any of these could set me off on a crying jag.
The emptiness in my heart was cold and aching, there seemed to be no end to it, or at least none I could see in the future that was colored darkly by grief.
One night, about three weeks after Micah died, and after a particularly bad day of crying and feeling heartsick, I had a dream.
Going to bed well after midnight, I finally sank into a deep sleep. It was then that the dream came to me; or rather I should say Micah came to me in a dream. It was a dream so real that during it my mind forgot what had happened, my heart was light and it seemed as if all was again right with the world.
Micah was here, as real and alive as he had been the last time I saw him.

I don’t know how I came to be where I was in the dream, but isn’t that always the way it is? You just seem to be in the middle of the dream when you first come to realize it, never questioning how you got there.
 Such is the weird wanderings of the human mind. Dreamland an unusual landscape, and it's often a strange mixture of reality and fantasy. It’s a place where we sometime encounter our darkest fears, and at other times we are lucky enough to meet again with loved ones we have lost. 

Such was the case in my dream that night, Micah and I met again in the woods around Council that he and I dearly loved.
We were riding on his four-wheeler along the GA/FL state line road, me on back holding on and him driving. We’d done this before, as he would oblige to take his old Aunt Rosie around and about Council so I could take photos. 

Today I had no camera, but held onto the bars at the back of the seat as we sped down the sandy roads we both knew so well.
The day seemed bright and fresh, like an early spring day, when the forest was abloom and the heat of summer had not blanketed the area with humidity. I leaned up towards Micah and warned him about the washout in the road ahead and to slow down a little bit. He laughed, saying yes he saw it, and don’t worry he would slow down.
He slowed down somewhat, but was still going a little fast for my taste, so I reached up to grab his waist. He turned his head slightly and said, “ Oh come on Aunt Rosie, you’re not scared, are you?”
“You just slow it down a little more, Mr. Smarty Pants, and don’t make me fall off this thing!” I squealed as we hit the messy washout and mud splattered up on the sides of my jeans and tee shirt.
Micah laughed with delight as I squealed, he'd always loved doing that, and I gave him a playful pinch in the side. We eased on and settled into an easy pace down the road.
Just ahead of us a doe and fawn skittered out of the woods and across the road. Micah slowed down instinctively and we watched them vanish into the palmettos. We continued on at a slower pace looking for more game. 

We were not disappointed.
Rounding a curve we spotted two large black sows with a litter of nine pigs between them. Micah slowed the four-wheeler to a crawl and we watched the pig family nose through the dirt on the road ahead of us, unaware they were being watched.
“That’s a mess of babies, ain’t it Aunt Rosie?” Micah whispered.

“It sure is, look at that little rust colored one up there, he’s different from all the rest.” I said.
About that time the breeze shifted and the mama hogs caught wind of us. They snorted an alarm and herded the babies off the road and to the safety of the broom straw and briar bushes. We picked up speed again and continued our ride.
Micah turned his head slightly and said something to me: “Aunt Rosie, I want to show you something special, something I can do now that I couldn’t before, but I need you to hold onto my waist.”
 At first I thought he was going to rev up the motor and pop a wheelie, and he knew I’d be afraid and scream so he was giving me a warning.
“No, Micah, don’t you dare try to pop a wheelie! You know that scares me and it’s too dangerous.”
He chuckled, “No Aunt Rosie, I’m not gonna do that, this is way cooler than that and it’s safe, I promise. Just hold onto my waist, no matter what.”
I reached for his waist and before I could protest again, I felt us both starting to lift from the seat of the four-wheeler. We lifted upwards smoothly as my eyes widened and my mouth was agape in disbelief. 

I could hear Micah laughing as we rose higher.
Below me the four-wheeler eased along down the road without us, and the trees tops came into view. I was amazed and yet at the same time I was starting to realize that this was a dream, and not reality.
There was a twinge of disappointment as I made that realization, but at the same time, I felt a lightness in my heart that had not been there for weeks. The scenes that lay before me were surreal and yet reassuring, as if, even though I now knew it wasn’t real, it was a respite from the dark veil of grief that had enveloped me the last month or so.
Micah’s voice floated back to me, “You can let go my waist and hold onto my hand, okay?” I nodded, looking at him as we floated along side by side, my hand holding fast to his.
 “Look down Aunt Rosie, look at those woods, ain’t that the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen?”
I looked downward, and he was right, far below me as we glided a few feet over the tops of the tall pines, I could see the budding wild flowers on the forest floor. A pond glistened beneath us, and a gator sunning on its banks looked like a toy.
 The breezes blew past us as we flew, birds darted across our path now and again, and off in the distance I could see the western horizon where the sun hovered in the late afternoon like a golden globe.
 My heart filled with true joy, and such a peace that I had never before felt, I was elated. The sadness I experienced earlier upon realizing I was dreaming was gone.
 I glanced over at Micah’s face; it was filled with unabridged happiness. He turned towards me and his eyes sparkled, the tiny freckles on his nose and his rosy cheeks seem to glow. He looked so incredibly happy and he smiled back at me, fairly beaming.
“Ain’t it beautiful up here, Aunt Rosie, it’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen. I remember how I used to sit up in those tree stands and wonder what it would be like to fly over the woods like this.”
I nodded in agreement, and felt the tears streaming down my cheeks.
“It’s so beautiful, Micah, so beautiful. I’m so glad you showed it to me.”
He looked back at me again, this time the smile was gone, but he looked at peace. “I wanted you to see, I needed you to see this to understand, Aunt Rosie. I need you to not be so sad all the time, and to help the rest of the family. I thought it would help you to see some of what I can see.”
 I nodded and gulped back tears, “But it’s so hard Baby, we miss you so much.”
“I know, Aunt Rose, I know. But, I can see everything from here, Aunt Rosie, everything. And, I’m happy, so, so happy.”
I was crying harder now, but trying to smile.
“Do you understand?” he asked me with a smile and then squeezed my hand. “I need you to understand.”
“I do, Baby, I do.”
I woke up crying, the dream was gone, and so was Micah, but I understood what he wanted me to know.
I understood, that no matter how difficult this was for all of us left behind to comprehend why it happened, Micah was at peace and he was happy.
I also understood that he would be there in Spirit to help us through the long days, weeks, and months ahead. 

I understood that he took me with him in that dream to fly and see what he could see, so I could understand, and move on.
I understood he wanted me not to let grief take control of my life, and to share this story for the others who loved him.
I’ve tried to write this several times since last year, but it would never come. It came today, on August 7th, what would have been his sixteenth birthday, as a gift from him.
 Happy Birthday, sweet Micah, thank you for letting me fly with you that night. Thank you for giving us such precious memories, and know we will always love you.
 With love, so much love,
 Aunt Rosie
©Southernstoryteller~
August 7, 2011



Monday, July 18, 2011

A Gathering of Clan

A Gathering of Clan

Can’t remember why we have it this time of year,
the heat is oppressive and saps all our energy
leaving us as lethargic
as the blue tick hounds under the porch.

Humidity hangs in the air
like the Spanish moss in surrounding trees,
and beads of sweat sit on our lips and brows
glistening in the sunlight like exotic jewels. 



Yellow flies nip mercilessly
at unprotected ankles and elbows
of those who forgot their Skin-So-Soft.
But we show up every June,
‘cause that’s how it’s always been done
 and that’s a good enough reason for most,
‘specially the old-timers.

Copiously covered tables sag in the middle like sway-back mules.
Most every Southern dish imaginable is here:
mounds of fried chicken lie on platters like sacrificial offerings,
baked hams and fried catfish taunt us to taste them,
cast iron pots full of fresh speckled-butter beans and crowder peas
reveal floating ham hocks begging to be gnawed.

There are kettles of creamed and boiled corn and bowls of potato salad galore.
The sweets tables sits off to the side:
a dieter’s nightmare of puddings, pies, and cobblers.
Oh, and the cakes: cakes with thin, griddle-cooked layers topped with freshly made jelly,
blackberry, blueberry, huckleberry and mayhaw dripping temptingly.
Chocolate cakes, eight to ten layers each, with home-made fudge icing,
Coconut cake with whipped meringue so light it threatens to float away.
Banana pudding made from scratch, no instant mixes here!
Iced cold tea, sweet and syrupy; lemonade, tart and tangy.

Relatives gather, congregating to swap gossip, photos, and recipes.
Bragging rights are hotly debated over children, dogs, and fishes caught.

Cousins reminisce about times when their only worries
were who could win the most marbles or swing the highest.
Older relatives remember when the road out front was still dirt,
or when old Unc Hank was still living...
Lordy, could he spin a tall tale!



New babies wriggle in unfamiliar arms,
their frowning faces pinched in protest,
as great-aunts and second cousins steal kisses
from their tempting rose petal cheeks.

Toddlers hold court like jesters,
for crowds of appreciative onlookers.
Older children divide up according to gender.
The boys play loud boisterous games of war
or push small cars and trucks in the sand.
Girls hopscotch and play jack stones
or inspect each other’s dolls.

Teenagers, bored to tears and wishing they were home,
feel like aliens on a strange planet,
and wonder if it’s possible they were adopted.

And so we congregate, a gathering of clan:
multiple generations assembled in one place
to honor their collective heritage,
to rekindle their bond of blood,
and their shared joys and sorrows.

We come to reunite and celebrate
the lineage that joins us together.
Generation after generation,
Year after year,
on this specific day,
to this special place:
an annual reunion of spirits and hearts,
who share the ties that bind,
the powerful bond of family.

Rose S. Williams
©Southernstoryteller~2003




Saturday, July 16, 2011

Water of Clay

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Forever (A prose poem with photos)

Summer Forever 

Every year Summer rides in on a sweaty steed, bringing with



him languid afternoons where heat shimmers off 


sidewalks and roadways like expelled dragon’s breath.
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d428/d777/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
The earth moves slothfully now, as do we all, slowed to a


snail’s pace by the oppressive heat.

And if on cue, June brings with it the Sum
mer Solstice and late


afternoon thunderstorms whose clouds gather like a


marauding army on the far horizon.
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They mass together, growing darker and more ominous as


they approach.

We shiver, even though we are sweating, the foreboding


thought of tornadoes never far from our minds.
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These looming storms possess unbridled power in the form of 


lightening strikes, bolts of fire and brimstone sent downward 


from the heavens in some reverse joke of the gods.

Humans, animals, fish and fowl all huddle under their flimsy 


cover of beam and glass,
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d444/d777/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
bush and tree,
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d314/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
grass and leaf,
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nest and shell
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cowering as the white hot bolts fly and the thunder drums roll.

We listen to the words the heavens sing in a chorus of


thunderous voices and pray for rain. 

Rain comes softly first,
smattering,
splattering,
pattering
on the rooftops and treetops as we scurry out of its reach.

Long denied plants and trees stretch outwards and upwards 


eagerly catching the gift from the heavens.
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d327/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
The parched soil drinks in the rainfall, thirstily drawing the 


moisture down into itself and filtering it outwards
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d446/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
to the tangled maze of roots from trees, grasses and flowers.

The storms subsides after a while, spent from its exertion, and


the rain slows to a drizzle. Afterwards, we emerge from our


nooks and crannies, taking in this wondrous newly washed 


world,
we walk along the streams and riverbanks,
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d193/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
or stroll along the wet, sandy beaches
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d322/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
as we drink in the sparkling air, freshly washed like laundry 


and hung out for us to enjoy. For now, the storm has passed 


and Summer has begun.

And so, we’ll float along in the summer swirl of heat and rain…

rinse and repeat,

rinse and repeat from June until August,

wilting in the sizzling sun,
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d446/d777/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
baking in the blistering rays.

Day in and out, each one starting in a glorious sunrise of gold
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d184/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
and ending in an equally breathtaking sunset of orange and


crimson.

http://media-files.gather.com/images/d675/d782/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
As ice caps melt and ocean waters rise we are heading toward


a perpetual summer,

http://media-files.gather.com/images/d180/d776/d745/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
a planet where we will swelter all year long rather than a 


seasonal searing.

We will eventually forget the other seasons; fall, winter, spring


will become long lost tales of wonder and enchantment as


summer reigns supreme and everlasting.

Rose S. Williams
©Southernstoryteller~2007