I Am From Appalachia

A week or so ago I shared a poem template with you here on the Blind Pig. The template is fairly easy to use-and the resulting poem is full of emotion and meaning for the person who wrote it. I asked readers who used the template to write their own poem to share it with me if they were from Appalachia. Today’s guest ‘poem’ was written by Janet Smart who Writes in the Blackberry Patch.

Janet smart writing in the blackberry patch


I Am From Appalachia written by Janet Smart

I am from Appalachia,
from hills and hollows
and Grandma’s front porch
with quilt covered gliders
cotton soft and squeaky.

I am from dirt roads
rutted from cars
that rumble past and
leave billowing clouds of dust
to scatter in the breeze.

I am from summer vegetable gardens
plowed in early spring
with Uncle Romey’s horses,
whose long manes and straight rows
flow behind them.

I am from thorny blackberry patches
spread over hillsides
and gnarled grapevines hanging from trees
waiting for eager young hands
to grab hold and swing.

I am from close knit families
living in houses built by
strong hands and loving hearts
and cousins playing in yards perfumed
with the scent of roses and lilac bushes.

I am from time gone by
when fireflies dotted
dark country skies and
families left their doors open
for a visit from a night breeze.

I am from Appalachia
and I dwell in the shadows
of the rugged hills
where I walk in footsteps
left by my ancestors.


Many of the lines in Janet’s poem resonate with me and my up bringing. The lines about ‘dirt roads rutted from cars‘ brought to mind some of Pap and Granny’s old cars.

Most of our roads are paved now-but in my mind I remember the nervous feeling I felt riding in the backseat along our rutted gravel roads. Knowing he’d have to hit the road hard to make it to the top-and knowing with Pap at the wheel we were sure to safely reach our destination no matter what.

I hope you enjoyed Janet’s poem as much as I did-stick around for a few more where I’m from poems over the next days.


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  • Reply
    Carmen Falin
    August 10, 2013 at 2:13 am

    I love this so much I have it on my refrigerator….you make me proud cousin!

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    August 5, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    I was raised in NW PA, but these words resurrected many memories in my heart and mind too – the rutted dirt roads (ours was a single lane with wide spots every so often where cars meeting could pull off so as to pass each other), the scent of roses and lilacs filled our yard, and wild blackberries and raspberries grew in the gulley below the house, and a dad who could get us up and down that old road regardless the conditions or the weather. Nice memories indeed!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    I appreciated and enjoyed your poem Janet! I especially enjoyed the part about Grandma’s glider and the quilt. Thanks Tipper for asking her to do this.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    August 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I really enjoyed your poem, Janet. Thank you for sharing it with us, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    August 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Thanks everyone. I love writing about the old days and my ancestors. I seem to put a little of them in all the stories I write. It is my way of honoring and remembering them. Ed – Uncle Romey (and all my uncles) was special, as I am sure yours were, too.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    August 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for this beautiful poem Janet and to you Tipper for posting it. This is me through and through. Brought back a lot of memories for me. That’s why I love to write it down cause when we’re gone these precious memories will go with us .. Thanks.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Beautiful and warm. Deep roots in those old Grandfather Appalachian Mountains seem to provide a secure anchor for your lives.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2013 at 11:46 am

    That was wonderful; I could feel her heritage and memories. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Richard Moore
    August 2, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I love this poem! So many memories and images it calls to mind. I grew up on a dirt road and remember that rutted way well.
    There was (and is) an etiquette of driving on a dirt road when it is dry and dusty. It was significantly impolite to roar past kicking up a plume of dust that would cover the neighbors car and laundry hanging on the line.
    For most of my youth our gardens were plowed by a team of mules owned by some neighbors.
    Then my father borrowed a gasoline powered garden gizmo which worked well until it got snagged in the chicken-wire fence and quickly “climbed” it before he could shut it off.
    I learned some new words that day

  • Reply
    Dan O'Connor
    August 2, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Thank you Janet for the memories and images.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    August 2, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Gosh Tipper just look what you have inspired. Janet, that is a wonderful, evocative poem.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Oh WOW! That’s great! I am from that same Appalachia I think…magnificent!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    August 2, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Thanks, Tipper, for featuring me today. I love Appalachia and the roots, memories and family that hold me here. I will never stray.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 2, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Janet-I could swear you are my sister but I don’t have an Uncle Romey.

  • Reply
    Sheryl P aul
    August 2, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Lovely poem, I can see your home and family and how wonderfully happy you were.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Janet, I do think you are from Appalachia! Great poem. Keep it up.

  • Reply
    steve in tn
    August 2, 2013 at 8:04 am

    nice poem and remberances. it takes something to put yourself out thete with something personal…be it a poem•essay•song etc.. thanks for shareing some things many of us hold in common.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2013 at 7:51 am

    What a wonderful poem, Janet! Even with all the gardening going on, I am so totally inspired to write a poem to add to an album I have saved just for leaving behind important memories. Several of these would certainly make a wonderful book for reading about the heart and soul of Appalachia. Thank you so much, Tipper, for making my retirement such a thoughtful journey. You have inspired me to do kraut making, preserving in a crock, and I now have Leather Britches drying. Instead of giving up and sitting in a rocking chair, I have become totally involved in all the wonderful projects that have been handed down through generations in Appalachia. I feel I am doing a tiny bit to carry on these traditions and help others to appreciate the uniqueness of Appalachia.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 2, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Thank you Janet and Tipper. That’s a wonderful poem! Reminds me most of being at my Grandmother’s.
    I remember coming home from town with my grand paw in his old green Chevy. The floor in the back was big enough for a calf to stand, comfortably. I know this because I went them once when they bought a calf and it rode home there in the car.
    Anyway me and Paw were coming home from town and there was a section of the dirt road that was steep and curvy. When we came to that part of the road Paw rocked back and forth in the seat as if he was helping the car up that piece of the road and he blew the horn at each curve to warn anyone there that we were coming through.
    Fond memories, thanks.

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