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Poetry | Blues: Cross, Grass, and Ridge

A poem inspired by a visit to counties in the northwestern part of North Carolina.

Oft, the non beaten road is mis –

pronounced and

interpreted, or


Truth is, hearts that wonder,

many who also white knuckle,

the winding slopes of the coolest corner,

carry warmth, but must not be faint.


Long’s frescoes astound,

MerleFest’s vibrations spring,

and the nation’s holiday firs breathe. 


The farmer’s till instigates roots, 

tough and longevous

despite harvest and winter’s call;

the hue forever green.


The luthier’s banjo strum

throughout the sun’s departure

swaying blue grass pastures 

gently under the moon’s shine.

Hollars like resounding

echoes of resilience throughout

elevated terrain, “closer to God,”

along the gravel path’s melodic crunch;

beautiful as the mountain backdrop.

Through the fog, thick as ash,

exists rolled sleeves and helping hands,

hungry for, like the trout’s river, New;

to clasp tight the virtue of ruggedness, but 

to revitalize their dearly beloved:

God’s Country

Mamaw’s comfort

Mountaineers’ home.

Derick Lee

Derick Lee is a regional storyteller for EdNC.