JUNE 2017: Featured Artist
Poet & Naturalist:
Photo credit: Kendall Kessler
Clyde Kessler is a poet and naturalist who lives in Radford, VA. His poems have been published in numerous magazines and journals, most recently in Mad Swirl, Juked, and Mud Season Review. He has also authored several books of poetry. His latest book of poems, Fiddling at Midnight’s Farmhouse (Cedar Creek Publishing), was illustrated by his wife, Kendall Kessler, Sanctuary’s September 2016 featured artist.
Clyde is also a founding member of the Blue Ridge Discovery Center, an environmental education organization with programs in western North Carolina and Virginia. He works at University Libraries at Virginia Tech and is also regional editor for Virginia Birds, a journal of the Virginia Society of Ornithology. He has conducted field research on several species of dragonflies, moths, butterflies and birds for more than 40 years.
Please Note: More information about Fiddling at Midnight’s Farmhouse can be viewed at the link after Clyde's poems.
FIDDLING AT MIDNIGHT’S FARMHOUSE
(Previously published in Now and Then: The Appalachian Magazine)
© Clyde Kessler
I tease some old music from a fiddle
more squall than riff, more dust than strings,
and a rosined bow. I hear it turn the house
into children and dreams. A slow ballad
almost plays itself home and cold to the door
where nobody waits, and I’m all whiskey
and wobbly enough to sing myself a ghost.
Fall to the fiddle, I say, draw its bow,
slide it like moonlight, as if somebody loves
and keeps the world. There’s a singer’s burden
shuffled in the chords, and you sing it near.
If you’re this ghost, I’ll play the song again.
It laughs from cherry-wood, it shrugs a stone
like clouds on an eye, never makes heaven.
(Previously published in Shaking Like a Mountain, an online magazine)
© Clyde Kessler
If you can’t learn from history—save yourself a few years,
circle back, and burn your own barn.
--A Proverb from the Storms--
I catch the winter swan-jazzed
downstream with its swanky snow
flying way on south, the lemon
trees shake icicles from sunlight.
A patrol car keeps sliding
inside my mirror. I hear Charlie
Parker jangling Shreveport up
through the long hauling train.
The music gets pasted on skin.
Feel the harmonica roll off
like the squabble of two brats
tasting the last cold slice of pie.