Thanks to friend of CRE Jennifer Michael for sharing this poem with us:
In Shakerag Hollow
It’s not a jar in Tennessee,
just a fragment of white porcelain:
maybe a plate, a coffee cup.
It glistens through the palimpsest
of years of leafmold, time’s dark script.
To get here, we’ve veered off the path
that leads us safely through near-wilderness,
past silent deer and bustling squirrel.
Ironically, once off that well-worn track
we stumble over remnants of stone wall,
black locust fence rails, even a rusted sink.
What is this rubble doing in our woods?
We like to think of wilderness untouched:
a place we visit Sunday afternoons,
not someone’s homestead eighty years ago,
abandoned soon, through death or poverty.
Even the name bespeaks a human act:
a carved-out place among the towering trees,
the shaken rag the sign of fresh moonshine,
treasure distilled from stony soil.
We go into the woods to lose ourselves.
Instead, we’re shocked to find ourselves again.