Night Music

Poems take us places we haven’t been before, and introduce us to new people, and sometimes they play our favorite songs on the radio while we are getting there. Jane Hicks’s poems carry us across time and into the deep woods of memory, and after reading them, we may feel that we ourselves have eaten banana pudding at communion on Pyburn Creek. Hick’s poetry first appeared in Now & Then magazine in 1987, and she went on to publish more than a dozen poems in the magazine in the years that followed. Hicks is a treasured ETSU alum, and her work is an indispensable thread in the quilt of Appalachian literature. We are delighted to share these new poems from her so early in the life of Appalachian Places. Learn more about Hicks and her work here: http://www.cosmicpossum.com/


I roll down windows and fly

through honeysuckle nights,

radio replays my youth,

nights WOWO came

through after midnight, oldies

a comfort of a well-worn quilt.

Breakups, meltdowns, high school

drama, dances that sent us into crisp autumn

sweat-soaked, long hair damp curtains,

songs that had dance names morphed

into protest as my senior year rolled round.

I dreamed of escape to college,

decade turned: Motown, acid rock,

protest, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin,

a rough world, classmates called

to war. We thought not to survive

Cuban Missile Crisis, seed for hippies

that seized any day that might be their last.

I drive on past drowsy cows,

wary of bounding deer, stop at mountain

overlook under a blackberry sky

to watch stars herded across dark heavens –

Hercules treads on Draco,

Littlest Dipper overhead,

the Lyre of Heaven strums across the night.


Jane Hicks, a native of East Tennessee, is an award-winning poet, teacher, and quilter. Her poetry appears in journals and numerous anthologies, including Southern Poetry Anthology: Contemporary Appalachia and Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee. Her first book, Blood and Bone Remember, was nominated for and won several awards. The University Press of Kentucky published her latest poetry book, Driving with the Dead, in the fall of 2014. It won the Appalachian Writers Association Poetry Book of the Year Award for books published in 2014.