Karen Paul Holmes
I came early to poetry and yet late—from age 12, I wrote in notebooks and didn’t show anyone except a few teachers here and there. About six years ago, a whole community of poets opened up when I attended a workshop in the Blue Ridge Mountains and joined a critique group. I became an open mic junkie and started hosting a monthly reading series with open mic. I love to write and have been a freelance business writer in Atlanta for years. Connecting with poetry communities helped me improve my work and gave me the courage to submit it. I have a full-length collection, Untying the Knot (Aldrich Press, 2014) and my poems appear in many journals and anthologies including Poetry East, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems (Negative Capability Press, 2015). www.facebook.com/karenholmespoetry
An Appalachian Point of View
Montana brags of its Big Sky
but Lake Chatuge has one too,
grand enough that it often showers on one side
and shines on the other:
In the bright east,
cumulus mock the forecast
while dark western heavens pour.
All glows indigo and silver—mountains, water, rain—
except when a seven-colored arc
shore to shore gives the girl in me
hopes for treasure at each end.
Did pots of gold settle in these valleys
along with Celtic ballads?
That hint of lilt buried in the speech?
In Atlanta, you can’t see an expanse over head—
just tall buildings, a canopy of trees,
Today, the city has stuck to my shoe.
No matter how far I stretch toward Hiawassee,
I get snapped back.
On the days I break away,
Lake Chatuge’s big sky feeds my need for freedom.
Walking the dam, I drink in the bowl of lake
with its rim of ridges.
A soul from Montana might feel closed in here.
But as rainbow sightings depend on your stance,
so does the yen for asylum
in this blue mountain surround.
-first published in a slightly different version Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, April 2011
©2016 Karen Paul Holmes