For Jane Gentry Vance, 1941 – 2014

Jane Gentry Vance Hunting for a Christmas Tree after Dark

A sudden mildness in the cold field.
Scraps of snow still strewn on the hillside.
The net of stars cast out overhead.
The shapes of old cedars come toward me
familiar as loved bodies approaching
from a long way off.
The creek in a hurry, as full of itself
as a zipper, the slow-melting snow.

I can hardly make out the rock fence
wavering up the hill, cold stone
on cold stone, stacked together
by unknown hands so many years ago.

How grateful I am for this moment of peace
my body has made with gravity, this
pulling things out of their places
and holding them in,
like Orion the hunter, who, when I blink,
seems to throw his leg over the low fence
of the horizon and climb into this bound with me.

Up ahead, looking for the one perfect tree,
my cousin John. His lantern bobs through
the dark meadow. He raises the globe
of light over and over in prospect.
I hang back, feeling rich in the black
waste, safe in his bowl of earth,
with rocks outcropping in the flattened grass,
trees wet, dirt sweetened by the downhill run-off
of all fear. Though the interstate throbs
and the town lights bleed into the blot
of circling trees, from here the stars redeem
the dark that makes them shine.

from What Comes Down to Us: 25 Contemporary Kentucky Poets. link

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on by .

About University Press of Kentucky

The University Press of Kentucky has a dual mission—the publication of books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields for a largely academic audience and the publication of books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia. The Press is the statewide mandated nonprofit scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, operated as an agency of the University of Kentucky and serving all state institutions of higher learning, plus five private colleges and Kentucky's two major historical societies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s