I push a CD into the player as I drive
twisting Route 16 through Calhoun County.
Voices from years gone by sing to me
songs from times so far removed
the language rings medieval in my ears.
Pretty Saro, Going Cross the Mountains,
Dark Holler, Pretty Fair Miss—
I sing along, my voice tuned
to the old-time sound of long-gone singers.
I sing and look for signs of the old ways
–a haystack built with pitchforks,
sides raked to shed the rain, or a garden
with bean vines on poles and tomatoes staked,
a porch with rocking chairs
filled with fiddle players and banjo pickers.
I seek the past in places it might have lived,
and sing with dead men,
finding the rhythm
of their silent voices.