Sunday, March 29, 2009
Have you read Wild Ginger, Poems by Bettie M. Sellers?
During the month of March, we have celebrated the life, poetry, and accomplishment of former Georgia Poet Laureate Bettie M. Sellers. Here, at the end, I acknowledge poems from her most recently published collection, WILD GINGER. It’s in the Wild Ginger poems that we get the whole person. The poems of Bettie M. Sellers observe nature and the passing of the seasons in the beloved north Georgia mountains where she lives. Her poems resemble vivid portraits of people she met in her travels through life. The final section of Wild Ginger takes the reader traveling with her into Greek Mythology and to the land of Greece itself.
The poems I cannot forget are poems of this woman, painting her house on a summer day, her head cocked to one side, listening. Nor will I think of Bettie M. Sellers and not imagine her eyes looking up to the sky.
the season of cicadas by Bettie M. Sellers
It is the season of house painting
and cicadas, the soft swish of my brush
indistinguishable in the disembodied music
filling the valley as bright as leaves
edging red into September.
I have found their shells shadowed
on bark of dogwood and pine -
but I cannot see their wings liberated
into the air that fills the space
between this ridge and Double Knob.
It is the season of grape jelly,
of skimming the boiling surface
to make it clear in the jars
as purple glass.
When winds chill and I make hot biscuits
to butter and spread with this jam,
I shall hear cicadas hiding in the grass
and smell fresh paint
coating the boards of my house.
killdeer above the stars
by Bettie M. Sellers
They keen, a shrill song circling
the gravled roofs that cap
the planetarium dome,
for nestlings fallen out through
apertures that empty Apil's rain
and three small birds.
Each year we see them weaving
in and out among campus grasses,
gathering stuff for yet another nest.
They build, warm eggs, three specks
like bits of gravel skittering
across the roofs, around the silver
pipes. From a window high across
the lawn, we watch a day, a week,
until the black-barred parents
warn us with their mourning song.
They cry above the dome, among maples
leaning down to shadow Betelgeuse.
Then they are gone until April returns,
and killdeers nest again above Andromeda.
watching the stars fall by Bettie M. Sellers
Perseid, the meteor showers
of late summer, the Big Dipper
pours out snippets of light
on the slopes of Rabun Bald,
on ground-pine spreading green
stars under low brush.
Jewelweed catches yellow, golds,
shares orange with Turk's Cap
lilies nodding beside the road.
In this near darkness,
I cannot see Joe-Pye -Weed,
wild asters absorbing
the purple rays or a great
mushroom splashed with reds
spilling over onto a terra-cotta
mound of black ants.
When morning comes,
I will forget the light
streaking down the sky
above the mountain,
see only replenishment,
colors touched up, warmed
across the August land.
PUBLICATIONS OF BETTIE M. SELLERS.
Western From Bald Mountain (1974) Out of Print
Appalachian Carols ( 1976)
Spring Onions and Cornbread ( Pelican Publishing 1978)
Morning of the Red Tailed Hawk (Green River Press 1981
Satan's Playhouse (1986)
Liza’s Monday (Appalachian Consortium Press, Boone, 1986)
The Bitter Berry: The Life of Byron Herbert Reece
(1992 University of Georgia Press)
Wild Ginger (Images 1988, Reprinted by Kennesaw State University Press 2004)
Wild Ginger also available at www.alibris.com. Note from Alibris:About this title: Best known for her poems about life in the north Georgia Mountains. This collection of poetry from the former Poet Laureate of Georgia was chosen by Georgia Center for the Book for its Georgia 2005 Top 25 List.