Amnesty Hollow

This hollow seemed so dark and cold
Hidden in dreams forbidden never told
Its wooded cliffs of willow and birch
Cast their shadows as the family church
For within these hills of Appalachian birth
My father began his humble search

Born in the house by the crystalline stream
Its walls so bare I've never seen
Seven siblings four girls three boys of mirth
Their bedding upon a straw filled berth
How could they know real satin lined sheets
When their shoes were filled with sockless feet

Early in the morning breakfast to be found
Out to the store room by the rippling sound
Where the cream and butter languidly slept
As the crystalline stream laughed and wept
For the smell of cornbread overflowing the air
Added a little sweetness to the day they would bare

The girls off to school chores had been done
Boys stayed at home the farm to run
They worked in the fields most the day
As children must do they dreamed of play
They hitched the old mare and plough the land
One furl at a time the rock filled sand
Crops of tobacco or corn they sowed
Stored in the cellar or at market it sold

Their father worked for the state cleaning roads
A meager job a lesser man wouldn’t know
Their mother sat by the wood burning stove
Churning the butter stories she told
The children they listened faces full of glee
As their father played his fiddle so beautifully

© 1998 Jim Cain