Appalachia

A Christmas Friend

Today’s guestpost was written by Brian Blake.

Walking in a winter wonderland

 

A Christmas Friend written by Brian Blake

Tom
Blake drank Olde England’s ale in the King’s Colony

He chopped some trees to build our home out
here in Tennessee.

Mud
and straw between the logs kept out winter’s chill,

But warn’t too warm when that north wind
came whistling up the hill.

 

Grandpa’s
long flintlock rifle still rests on wrought-iron nails –

He told us how he used to hunt
Appalachia’s woodland trails.

October’s
harvest moon was full when he heard a furious roar.

Around the bend a Cherokee chief was
cornered by a b’ar.

 

“I never
miss black bears,” said Gramps, holding us in awe.

“The beast fell dead and the Chief said,
‘They call me, Eagle Claw.’ ”

Grandpa
died in early spring and we buried Pa soon after.

We said a prayer, got in the corn, and hung
a smoked ham from the rafter.

 

For
Christmas Ma had candles lit and an apple pie to savor,

Celebrating solemnly the Advent of our
Savior.

With
the Milky Way bright high above, came a knock that holy night.

Who could be there? We looked, but saw no
visitor in sight.

 

Yet
on the frozen porch we found a thick, black bear skin lay,

And a tall shadow seemed to whisper, “We
regret we cannot stay.

But I’m
not entirely gone, old friend; I’m hunting to the last!

Eagle Claw brings this for your boys to blunt
the north wind’s blast.”

 

© Brian P.T. Blake

——————————-

I hope you enjoyed Brian’s poem as much as I did! Leave him a comment and I’ll make sure he reads it!

Tipper

 

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Ethel
    December 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Very evocative and spiritual. Lovely!

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    December 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Tipper,
    The poem was very good and I really liked it. Thanks Mr. Blake,
    but today has been so sad for me. I keep thinking about those poor little boys and girls that were killed and the terror that they went through watching their
    class mates killed. We have four great grand children
    ages 5, 9, 10 and 13 that are in school and I keep thinking
    what “if” . I have been praying for the parents and families
    suffering this great loss. I guess if I would just have me
    a big ole cry I’d feel better.
    Please pray for these families in this sorrow. I don’t know
    why this has hit me so hard. They are not my friends or family, but they are Gods people.
    There was a time when I could not even cry. I could not even cry when my father died and when our step-grandson got killed, who we dearly loved. He was the NC State Trooper David Shawn Blanton JR.
    G-540 who was killed on I-40 at Canton, NC exit by a drug dealer, he was only 26 years old.
    Maybe it was because we received a beautiful invitation to the open house of new Emergency Operations Center on the 20th, that the Tribe named for him.
    I’m sorry if I messed this up for any one as they think about meaning of the poem. May God bless everyone.
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    December 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Great poem.. My kind of reading..Sure would like to meet him and his poetry.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    December 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Brian: How can I top all those wonderful comments you got this morning about your poem? But what I really want to know is WHERE OUT HERE IN TENNESSEE is this place located. Or it just imaginary? I am over in the hills between the Cumberland Mountains and the Smokies!
    Happy Holidays!
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Author
    “The Matheson Cove – In the Shadow of the Devil’s Post Office

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    December 15, 2012 at 11:07 am

    wow! I could almost feel the cold night. We need to be reminded of our forebears and what they endured for us.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 15, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Brian’s poem remind me that it’s not the material gifts we give at this season that are important. It is those things we do for strangers, expecting no return, that earn us the greatest reward. Grandpa’s good deed has brought warm feelings and stories to tell for many succeeding generations.

  • Reply
    Rush
    December 15, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Nice poem! Uplifting and one that contained the 2nd greatest commandment too – you can’t beat that!

  • Reply
    Will Dixon
    December 15, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I enjoyed this. Thanks for posting.

  • Reply
    Wade N Rivers
    December 15, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Who, pray tell, is that, secreted away there, amongst the evergreen’s heavy ladened boughs? Would that I could be there to fire a shot and release the conifer’s burden to accumulate upon the capitulum of that stealthy lass (lad?)

  • Reply
    Mamabug
    December 15, 2012 at 8:55 am

    What a beautiful piece to read this morning! Have a great weekend Tipper!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 15, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Wow, chilling and thoughtful.
    In a few words it says it all.
    Thank you, Brian, this one will spend the day with me.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    December 15, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Brian Blake’s poem “A Christmas Friend” is a good reminder of how our ancestors and the native Americans helped each other through rough times. I thank him for sharing it with us! Maybe we can be reminded that we need friends helping each other at Christmastime and throughout the year. A joyous to all of you who read and love “Blind Pig”!

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    December 15, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Thank you to Brian! I appreciate the way the story is combined with poetry.

  • Reply
    dolores
    December 15, 2012 at 7:53 am

    The true meaning of Christmas for sure! The mysteries of giving are the beauty of the season. The gift of remembering those in need and those who have received.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 15, 2012 at 7:47 am

    I love a good story
    when told in rhyme,
    And I’ll tell you right now,
    That’s a good-un, Brian.
    So here’s a toast
    that I lift to you,
    and to your kith
    and kin-ones, too.
    May Christmas bring
    A friend as true.
    As the Eagle Claw
    Them fellers knew.
    And may the gift
    Of the Christ impart
    Love, peace and joy
    In all our hearts.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    December 15, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Tipper,
    and Brian…The poem sure sent a chill over my soul this morning.
    I loved the poem…
    I used to be so afraid of bears, even into adulthood…
    Why I am not so afraid of them anymore, I can’t say…They actually seem more gentle, as living in this world gets more and more frightening.
    Thanks Tipper and Brian

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    December 15, 2012 at 7:23 am

    I absolutely LOVE Brian’s poem! Thank you for posting it. I don’t always get a chance to leave a comment in these busy pre-holiday days, but I always read the blog and enjoy it so much. Merry Christmas to one and all!

  • Reply
    sandy
    December 15, 2012 at 7:17 am

    I would really love to know if this beautiful poem was written about an actual event.

  • Reply
    Gorges Smythe
    December 15, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Like most good things, it comes with a dose of sadness. Good poem.

  • Reply
    Bradley
    December 15, 2012 at 5:32 am

    Mr. Blake I loved this story. This was very enjoyable. It was great escape for me this morning; I’m still cold. Hope Tipper gets you to do this more often.
    Tipper you sure sure know some neat people!

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