Hounds of Appalachia

Coursing on the wind
like my mother’s violin.
Appalachia plays her song
for the old souls who follow the hounds.
Long-eared and silver-tongued.
Animals.  Hunters.
Blood driven.  Pre-destined.
Lean and swift,
with torn, padded feet.

Voices on the wind.
Forces in the wind.
Their quarry: cat or bruin or coon,
just ahead, but always wind-scented.
Footprints in the darkness, followed.
What began excited and joyful
becomes frightful
and drips red on white snow
completing the circle of life
in the Old Way,
in the way Nature intended
Before we were changed.

Doing what their blood
tells them to do.
Ears heavy and hearing not only
what is on the wind that night
but what is being told to them
by the baying of the ancestors
in their blood.
They course the steep ridges
and deep hollows of foothills
covering eons of smoldering
bituminous dreams.

This is the way of the Hound.
This is the way of the Mountain.
This is the way of Appalachia
as it is now
and as it was
Only those who are blooded
witness it and understand.
They know what is on the land,
what is under the land,
and what is above the land.

The story is told by the hounds
on the wind
in the night
as it courses
the lonely, wooded ridge tops
and settles
to the secluded hollows
telling nothing
but the sweet and joyful
Explaining everything.

A nighthawk perched on the barren limb
From a lookout over it all
turns its’ head
to the wind
and is gone,
soaring somewhere
above it all.
and fulfilled by the story.

and, you, too
will hear it.
The sound and soul
of the hounds of Appalachia
coursing on the wind
like my mothers violin.

Written for Leah Graham
And her lovely depictions of
The Hounds of Appalachia

J.D. Graham

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