Appalachia I Am From

I Am From Front Porch Swings

Today’s guest poem was written by Ron Banks.

Ridge Way Baptist Church


Ridgeway Baptist
Church Ca. 1860’s

Where I Am From written by Ron Banks

I am from front
porch swings and a hand hewn log church.

I am from the
house at the end of the road, noisy katydids at night, soft handmade quilts and
the smell of hot biscuits in the morning.

I am from the
apple tree the muscadine and fertile soil.

I am from summer
revivals, hard work and my parents, Simon and Amy.

I am from the mind
your own business and not others.

From, if you stand
on your head your liver will turn over and kill you and chewing tobacco will
stunt your growth.

I am from hell
fire and damnation preaching, altar calls and shouting the house down.

I’m from Gilmer
County, Scotland, Ireland, England and France. Cornbread and fried pork chops.

From a Confederate
soldier, wounded and captured. I am from
the moonshine runner and the circuit preacher.

I am from the
family Bible, hickory switches, daddy’s pistol and grandpa’s straight razor. I
am from Appalachia.


I hope you enjoyed Ron’s poem as much as I did! The line about standing on your head made me think of all the sayings I heard as a kid like “if you swallow chewing gum it stays in your stomach for 7 years.”


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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    August 20, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Wonderful! I remember hearing “if you swallow gum, it might turn into a tumor.” Yep! And when our Aunt Dorothy got a goiter, they said she got it from swallowing a watermelon seed. sigh
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    August 17, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Ron, enjoyed reading your poem. Very good. I can identify with church.
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    August 16, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    These poems get better and better! Some of the subject matter makes me feel kin to these people. Thanks Ron and all the others that have written!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    August 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Malcolm: Like others I can well imagine that ‘homeplace’ at the end of the road. My Grandpa and Grandma Mull lived at the end of the trail upon Tusquittee. We use to ‘park’ our wagon near the branch – so the horses could drink and stay cool – and then we would walk up the trail to their big log house. Sweet memories!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    August 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    B-all the rain has about done in our grapes! The tame grapes seem to be ripe here-but a lot are mushy from the wet weather.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    August 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I love this one. I can really relate to it. His life sounds like mine. Love all of these poems you’ve posted Tipper..
    I also wanted to ask you about this WordPress you’re on. I have Blogger and I’m not familiar with WordPress to much. A friend of mine just created her a Blog and when she clicks Follow on other Blogs it doesn’t show up on her dashboard. Do you know why or is it something she’s doing wrong. I told her it probably would come through her email. Thanks Tipper.

  • Reply
    August 16, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Oh, how I loved this poem and all of them! I must write my own. It is hard to condense it. We used to play in the woods and swing on the grapevines! Wow what fun! My Dad had a friend at his work they called “Grapevine.” I asked him why and he said, “he lives so far back in the mountains that he has to swing from the grapevines to get to town.

  • Reply
    August 16, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Did we really believe that if your liver turned over it would kill you? The same people who told me that would hold a baby by it’s feet, gently shake it while holding it upside down to make it grow.

  • Reply
    August 16, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Another great poem – tells a lot about the life of the author. It is nice that people share their feelings and years of growing into society.

  • Reply
    August 16, 2013 at 8:36 am

    These poems straight from the heart are so enjoyable. Before now I might have thought words could not accurately describe this wonderful culture, but these poems seem to capture the very heart of Appalachia. Ron Banks did an excellent job!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 16, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Ron, I too loved the comment about standing on your head. I can remember so many of those from my childhood….amazing what we as children believed to be true then did it anyway!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 16, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Loved this one from Ron! Climbing up the trees for the mucadine vines that crawled up the limbs holding on to the larger, riper black pearls of sweetness…
    Hot biscuits and butter, sorgum, honey or black berry jam…Yummm
    Just starves me to death this morning…I gotta fix me some breakfast…Great job Ron, just about sums it up for folks from Appalachia!
    thanks Tipper,
    PS…I hate to mention that four letter word…but we have RAIN in the forcast again for the weekend. But, the last two days have been September like!
    Do you know if the Scuppernongs are ripe?

  • Reply
    August 16, 2013 at 8:04 am

    I can relate to alot of Ron Bank’s
    poem, especially being at the end
    of the road part. He tells the story
    of life in Appalachia very well.
    Thanks Ron, for the well written

  • Reply
    August 16, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Malcolm-you should write one! Actually you should write 2, one about your growing up days and one about the lovely life you and Ciejay have made for yourselves in Thailand : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Malcolm and Ciejay
    August 16, 2013 at 4:31 am

    Tipper I love these I’m from’s , makes me think of where I’m from , maybe I’ll do one of these one of these days . Thanks for keeping memories alive and well , love the girls songs too .

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