Pilgrimage to Sperryville

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Nature

Folks don't come to Sperryville
to find anything new,
but to leave behind what isn't
plain and harmless as its
white-washed churches
and whiter fences and oaks
with past lives in another world.  

 

I came to escape what love had
done, others come  
to drink the mountain's
heart like sassafras tea, perhaps
absorb its wisdom and
its wild strength
or just to see a world outside
their shattered selves.

 

Just moments ago I thought the
only thing was passion, or rather,
the way passion is satisfied,
how you are lit from within,
perfected for a while,
somewhat of a god in the
purified darkness.

 

And then there is this . . .

And then there is the sky after it
has bled the innocence of
morning.

The lady selling apples by the
old bridge doesn't see it like I do:
Michelangelo clouds,
angel-spun and chrome-plated . . .
mountains full of youth and age;

she doesn't see them dip and strut
in a featherboa or
believe there is anything supernatural
about that blue.

She offers a taste of God's country to
city folks still bleary-eyed from
clocks that never take a breath
and glass mazes that don't know
how to pray
like the mountains do.

 

And there are willow baskets,
factory-made but playing their parts
well on log cabin porches.

 

Almost believable,
is that nothing has changed
in Sperryville.

 

And perhaps the quilts that
breathe in and out upon the wind
were made by saintly, gnarled
hands and the corn-husk dolls
are daughters of the field
behind the farmhouse.

 

I never did escape love's
blunt red curse,
but I did learn I was an
apprentice in the art of living,
and just when I think I'll
never get it right,
I hear a master's voice in
something so simple
you can believe anything
it tells you:

You can even believe it is
your own heart speaking.

 

And I believe as I take
dictation from rivers and
liquid mountains.

I buy twelve ears of corn,
a basket of peaches, and
suddenly I'm secretary to the
Universe,
coughing up words that don't
come close to tearing open the
absolute miracle of it all:

the way a distant valley can
diffuse you with its bottomless blue,
the way a centuries-old graveyard
can make you worship
this very moment.

 

Suddenly the love I fled
doesn't seem so inhuman,

and another sky bleeds the
memory of day,
wrings out each cloud like a rag.

And I watch myself, a stranger, a novice,
a pilgrim, drive away

while I make my home
in Sperryville.

 

by Patricia Joan Jones

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saiom's picture

Magnificent

 

'another sky bleeds the
memory of day,
wrings out each cloud like a rag.'

 

'Michelangelo clouds,
angel-spun'

 

'And then there is the sky after it
has bled the innocence of
morning'

 

'others come  
to drink the mountain's
heart like sassafras tea, perhaps
absorb its wisdom and
its wild strength'

 

'I take
dictation from rivers and
liquid mountains.'

 

'clocks that never take a breath
and glass mazes that don't know
how to pray
like the mountains do.'

 

'the way a distant valley can
diffuse you with its bottomless blue,'

 

you have done the mining and we without doing any work

can see the sparkling jewels



 

 

patriciajj's picture

What a gorgeous and

What a gorgeous and fulfilling comment. Thank you so much! 

Cascade's picture

So your last poem prompted me

So your last poem prompted me to come here, to Sperryville...and I think I have actually been there once. There is a Sperryville in VA, small little place. Artsy, with a winery. It was years ago, and I'm not sure even if I am speaking of the same location as this deeply goregous poem. Left me thinking of all the times I went driving to get away from "what love had done".  I love this time piece because it's rich with your earthy verbiage, because it's sooo emotional ly relatable, and because it gives us a little glimpse into your heart. I mean... what's not to love? 

Going back to the last one now..

 

patriciajj's picture

Yes, that's the same

Yes, that's the same Sperryville. Thank you so much for your gorgeous expression. I cherish it. 

Starward's picture

The verbal beauty of this

The verbal beauty of this poem, and the poignancy of its emotional content, is almost overwhelming.  I have both of your Sperryville poems open on my browser, and I am overwhelmed by them.  I just finished watching one of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone episodes about a deserted small town, and it prepared the way for my deeper appreciation of this poem.  This poem is so heavy with meaning that I cannot take it all in during one reading.  I will have to revisit.  And right glad to do so.


Enjoy effulgent days and exquisite nights.

Starward

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patriciajj's picture

Can't thank you enough for

Can't thank you enough for appreciating my vision and taking the time to analyze my work. That's an incredible honor I never expected when I wrote this years ago. My humble gratitude. 

allets's picture

Wow!

city country city urban rural - nice intertwine. Loved the lost innocence of morning. -S-


 

 

patriciajj's picture

Thank you for taking the time

Thank you for taking the time to read my work and leave such encouraging comments. Really appreciate it.