Pyburn Creek

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/


Follow sun-dabbed path to the aged and infirm

sycamore that refuses to yield to years,

across creek log, upstream to that green place,

below water-cut and weathered bank.

The flow tumbles over falls built by a brother and sister

beneath pawpaw trees, black-blossomed in spring,

fragrant-fruited by summer-end. Find the boulder

washed down by long ago torrent. Perch and listen,

draw watery breath, soak in the green, the yellow,

the blue of the season. Burbles, bird calls, distant cattle,

wind whistle or whimper in weeds and briars.

Remember dinner bell of the long afternoon called

you home to porch swing, night breeze sweetened

by white blossom and a hymn on the tongue.


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.