A Joyful Noise- Root Music of the Heartland

siting on hard pews and harder teachings

The end of the year always turns my thoughts to family, lineage and those who came before. A Joyful Noise- Root Music of the Heartland – the first in a series of “lineage poems,” words of origin and reflection, of receiving and giving. My parents, both born in the earliest part of the twentieth century (1915 and 1917,) met in a no-stoplight farm town in northwest Ohio. Bred of simple stock, firm in their protestant faith, the kind of belief that’s simply assumed, stitched into the fabric of a life.

Root Music

on my days alone, or late
when the day’s light is going 
I can often hear their voices 

the thin black line of the old songs 
wavering like smoke above the fields 
the sad soul songs of simple white churches 
 
I can see old white women, the knotted hands 
of hard lives passed in good work
of cold mornings and long days 

I can see old men bent stiff into their one black suit 
restless children, sitting on hard pews 
and harder teachings

I was raised by voices 
planted in the flat black dirt of Ohio 
the granges and barns of a world expired 

now, when the sun has worn itself out 
and the heat of the land begins to fade
I like to sit and listen as darkness falls 

listen to the birds settling home
listen for the hymns as they begin to rise 
from the land 

listen to my own jagged life 
beginning to round

© 2022 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com
the first in a series of “lineage poems,” words of origin and reflection, of receiving and giving

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