through a pillared
with a long valley of pastures,
fields edged by rocky bluffs
the color of muskmellon.
In the distance rose old mountains,
a shallow inland sea came
out of the hills, their colors
changed from vertagreen to
bluegrass glinting with
fragments of glass like tombstones.
The porches hung like a
cold drizzle as the mountain clouds
smudged the afternoon to dusk.
From the gloom came
a fiddler on the radio.
I created this 'found poem' with the prolific words of William Least Heat Moon as they were written in his best-seller Blue Highways.
I found my beat-up first edition of this book at a library sale earlier this summer. His words carried me, tail-end passer-by of his long-ago journey, and allowed me the incentive of a first-hand armchair traveller. I like to compare it to the likes of Jack Kerouac's On The Road and it's a read I highly recommend.
First published in 1982, William Least Heat-Moon's account of his journey along the back roads of the United States (marked with the color blue on old highway maps) has become something of a classic. When he loses his job and his wife on the same cold February day, he is struck by inspiration: "A man who couldn't make things go right could at least go. He could quit trying to get out of the way of life. Chuck routine. Live the real jeopardy of circumstance. It was a question of dignity."
Driving cross-country in a van named Ghost Dancing, Heat-Moon (the name the Sioux give to the moon of midsummer nights) meets up with all manner of folk, from a man in Grayville, Illinois, "whose cap told me what fertilizer he used" to Scott Chisholm, "a Canadian citizen ... [who] had lived in this country longer than in Canada and liked the United States but wouldn't admit it for fear of having to pay off bets he made years earlier when he first 'came over' that the U.S. is a place no Canadian could ever love." Accompanied by his photographs, Heat-Moon's literary portraits of ordinary Americans should not be merely read, but savored.
written and shared at the Tuesday Platform with Toads.