A couple of weekends ago I visited the mountains of southwestern Virginia to attend a memorial service for my great-aunt, who passed away November 2021 at the age of ninety-three. She was a feisty, fun-loving lady, and the memorial service was a moving celebration of her life. We also ate KFC and barbecue, which is the kind of send-off I want.
So the mountains were on my mind last week when Son of Sonnet reached out to me, asking me what theme I’d like a poem about. Naturally, I asked him to write about the mountains, specifically the sweet smell of clover that serves as a sensory touchstone for my youngest memories. To this day, whenever I smell clover, it takes me to my Mamaw’s house in Flat Gap, Virginia (outside of Pound, Virginia, in Wise County). That scent is synonymous with her and her home.
I did not tell Son of Sonnet—who is now publishing poetry under his real name, Michael Gettinger—about that sensory relationship before he wrote the poem. That makes the eighth and ninth lines all the more poignant and serendipitious.
So I am very pleased to present a very special poem from SoS/Michael Gettinger, “The Mountain”:
By Michael Gettinger (Son of Sonnet)
After climbing up to the mountain’s peak,
I beheld the empty night horizon.
Though perseverance made the dangerous climb,
It was nothing in the face of emptiness.
As I stood alone, silence was my friend,
And gave me time to breathe the mountain air.
It seemed, although I could not see or hear,
A sweet scent of clover had graced the air.
Nostalgia pulled my gaze to where I came,
And every thing that made the world was there.
It glowed as light within the hand of God,
And I, atop the finger, thought it good.