By Robert Morgan
Robert Morgan is one of America’s greatest living poets and writers of prose fiction and biography, and we are delighted to offer four new poems by him for the premiere of Appalachian Places. Readers familiar with his poetry will recognize his love for musical instruments, his deep knowledge of scientific phenomena, and the recurring presence of Uncle Robert, who appears in many of Morgan’s poems and stories. Each of these new pieces also features a relatively recent development in his poetry: the appearance of the rhyming end-couplet, which offers a startling sense of recognition and natural fulfillment to the poems. Morgan is a native of Zirconia, North Carolina, just outside Hendersonville. He has been called “the poet laureate of Appalachia,” and we believe these new poems demonstrate the ongoing case for that claim.
There is a dust as ancient as
the pocky surface of the moon,
and dust uncovered in Pompeii,
and dust in siftings of a tomb.
And dust on weighty library tomes,
and dust of interstellar space,
inside the vaults of time capsules,
and dust in graves that once was flesh.
But there is also living dust
in air around us every day,
the stive of motes and spores and spray
of infinitesimal particles,
We breathe the mites that pirouette
and dive with an electric lilt,
to wrestle off a fingertip
in microscopic ecstasy,
both radiant and galactic to
atomic spark or radical
far down the mensuration scale
in the remoteness of the small.