This is another draft piece from Gone to Look for America project. A few days into our trek along the Benton Mackay trail Dinny and I came across a clearing in the forest. Here we found a rough and ready open-sided wooden chapel and the graves of mostly three or four settler families Despite being in the middle of nowhere and apparently no longer used as a cemetery, there was evidence that the graves were still cared for and plastic flowers cast about by a recent storm had been placed on most graves. We spent about 45 minutes there thinking our own thoughts before heading on again.
On This place, on the hill
Where the old settlers lie,
They had built
A wooden chapel
Open to the world
On all four sides
So that the wind could brush
Away the dust and the nails
It stood In the silence of a slumbering forest
On a sharp pebbled floor
Where rough worn pews
Once red or green
But still humble
Were shaded from a remorseful sun
And someone had placed plastic flowers
On each and every grave that lay around.
An act of memory or remembrance or regard.
For whatever the sin, the error or the folly
A truth lingered here amongst the smell of the pine.
The illusions of light, and the ebbing of the year.
Laid low by the storm, we righted these simple gifts
That honoured the time-worn epitaphs to
Whole families who lie named and unnamed
As in life, in their place and together.
In the wilderness small churches stand
Narrow and belligerent
The final homestead and
Witness to the Pattersons, the Infant Milsop
And Old Man Dyer
Taken from work in progress on "A ‘Beautiful Broken Dream’ This will be a book about the America of our dreams and how in those dreams we can discover more about ourselves.. It roughly follows a month trek mostly on foot through the great forests of Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina and in parallel the writing and composing of a collection of ‘Moonshine’ songs. to be released as two collections: 'Reliance,' and 'The Girl With A Rattlesnake Heart.. The whole project is called Gone to Look for America and will be progressively released through 2018