Appalachian Writers

The Green Girls

Lonesome in apppalachia

The Green Girls by Nancy Simpson

A young woman with pale lips

sulks under a Mimosa tree

holding knees close to her breast.

She does not wave at me today

as I drive past. I know why

or think I know, having seen

her sister walking on the road,

head down, tears on her face.

Why have they quarreled?

One is not lovelier than the other.

Both are smart. I heard

their teacher say one could run

a corporation. The other

might be governor someday.

Mimosa is not Poinciana

though there is relation in the shape

of leaves that never grow larger

than the size of fingernails.

These sisters have power.

They turn back my seasons. I sit

with my back against the trunk

of an old tree, raucous with blooms,

myself young and growing. Poinciana

leaves in profusion turn yellow

and shed, painting my old home

front steps in sunny pointillism.

Mother appears, still sweeping,

still trying to remove the stain.

More lasting than a painting,

my sister comes out of the house.

She slams the door, her anger

as vivid to me now as it was.

I want to tell the Green Girls

they will forget why they quarreled.

When they ask their mother, she’ll say

she doesn’t remember or will blame it

on the tree’s inordinate shedding.

I want to tell them the word despise

is sometimes used among the young,

assure them the kinship of sisters

transcends roots, trunk and crown

of almost any tree that grows.

by Nancy Simpson


I first met Nancy Simpson almost 2 years ago at the Netwest Mountain Writers and Poets monthly meeting- Coffee With The Poets. I was immediately drawn to her powerful poetry written about my beloved Appalachia.

Although I don’t have a sister,The Green Girls spoke to me because it fit Chitter and Chatter’s relationship so well. The girls sometimes argue until a real fistie cuff takes place and someone has to tear them apart-but if an outsider slights (real or imagined) one of them- the other is ready to take on the world with one hand tied behind her back-just begging them to try and hurt her sister again. At our house there are slamming doors, tears, drama, and loving camaraderie in the sister department-just like in The Green Girls.

Nancy Simpson has authored 2 books-Across Water and Night Student. Her poems have been published in various publications such as-The Georgia Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Recently her work as been included in the text books Southern Appalachian Poetry and The Poets Guide to the Birds. Nancy teaches poetry at Young Harris College and is the Resident Writer at the John C. Campbell Folk School. As you can see-I’m not the only fan she has. To find out more about Nancy Simpson please visit her at Living Above the Frost Line.

I ask Nancy if she could sum up her feelings about Appalachia for me. Nancy said:

Appalachia is home in my heart. I was pulled to these mountains of Western North Carolina in the 1960s. I became a student of education at Western Carolina University, graduated and taught in Clay County Schools for 26 years.

I had never written a poem before, but after living in the mountains, I started writing. I studied and earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing at Warren Wilson College.

Appalachia is the place where my soul found peace, where I found the home in my heart.

Sounds like Appalachia is responsible for Nancy’s writing-something I can totally relate too.

Hope you enjoyed The Green Girls and learning about a very talented Appalachian Writer-Nancy Simpson.



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  • Reply
    The Tile Lady-Marie
    December 13, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    A truly marvelous post! Nancy Simpson’s poem is just wonderful, and I can see why you would relate to it because of your girls. Thank you for introducing us to Ms. Simpson’s work.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I loved Green Girls!
    I never had a sister, and have always bemoaned that fact. When I was a young girl in my teens, I recall good friends of mine, sisters to each other, who’d fight like cats and dogs. Just as with Chitter and Chatter, they were each other’s biggest defenders in time of need. As adults, they are best of friends!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Wow! Very powerful.Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    December 10, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Having both sisters and daughters, I can completely relate to this poem. So very true to how that sister relationship is.
    I love her comment about her Appalachian home being the inspiration of her writing. We all need a spot like that!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 10, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Nancy’s poem touches my heart. It is well written and full of wisdom. It is like your Green Girls. They have such a strong bond.
    I have a sister of blood, but never really a sister. Like Mary, it’s a long story. Last night for supper I had home canned tomato soup, a comfort food I learned about from my sister of the soul! She is more dear to me than my blood sister ever was.
    Thank you for the beautifully thoughtful post and the wonderful picture accents!

  • Reply
    noble pig
    December 10, 2008 at 1:53 am

    What a beautiful poem. Simple, lovely words.

  • Reply
    December 9, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    I love it! Vivid poetry, and reminds me of my sister and I also! Thanks for sharing Nancy’s art!

  • Reply
    December 9, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    The poem tells the story of most sister relationships, though I don’t have one so close with my sister. It goes back many years and is a long story.
    The work of Ms Simpson is lovely. She is a talented lady.
    I enjoyed visiting with you, as always. I hope all is well in your Appalachians.

  • Reply
    December 9, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing the poem. Beautiful!
    It’s hard to explain to outsiders what living in Appalachia means…it’s hearth and warmth and family.

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    December 9, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Morning Tipper! A truly reflective and poignant poem. Ms.
    Simpson expresses great wisdom in that the quarrels between us are always forgotten, so why in the first place? So many silly reasons. Your photo seems to show the same reflection. A lovely post, Tipper!

  • Reply
    December 9, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Thanks for the poem. Very beautiful. My husband who grew up with all boys has so much trouble understanding the emotions of our girls. To say they frustrate him is an understatement! I know he loves them nonetheless. Growing up with four sisters, I can certainly identify with this poem.

  • Reply
    Nancy Simpson
    December 9, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Hello all. Thanks for your comments on “The Green Girls”. In the publishing world, it is called acceptance and writers need that every once in a while to keep putting the pen to the page.
    Tipper, Thank you. I like the way you used your photos with “The Green Girls.” And thanks for the write up. Your blog is one of my favorites. I check it
    every day.

  • Reply
    December 9, 2008 at 5:36 am

    The Green Girls is a marvelous piece. Teaches me a lesson I need to learn!

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    December 8, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    That poem touched me deeply as I went through it all with my 4 sisters. Loved the pictures of you and Chitter and Chatter. Always nice to see you all. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. xxoo

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    December 8, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    I hold back every day. I start to tell you the pleasure the day’s essay or article gives me. Then I see all the others commenting. I start thinking I can’t express my feelings any better than your other readers have already done. There isn’t a long list of words that can say beautiful or wonderful differently.
    If I could get Appalichia out of my soul, I think I would. Because I can’t stay there, or be there, or even visit enough to fix the need. Still, your essays are a balm for my pining and a salve on my melancholy.

  • Reply
    December 8, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    I love Nancy’s poem, The Green Girls. Sisters are so special. Your post is special also, Tipper.
    The photos always work so well with the words.

  • Reply
    December 8, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Tipper I like this. It brings back memories of the love/hate relationship of my two older sisters. Glad to say they get along fine now but they sure fought back then.

  • Reply
    The Texican
    December 8, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Very interesting presentation. Thanks for the introduction. Pappy

  • Reply
    December 8, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Oh, wow. What a great poem. I am going to have to learn more about her!

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    December 8, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    I love this poem! You have such great taste in what you share 🙂 Your girls are such great sisters!

  • Reply
    December 8, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    That was an interesting poem. I have 2 sisters and luckily we have never quarreled much.

  • Reply
    December 8, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Beautiful poem and pictures, Tipper.
    Ms. Simpson is very talented.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    December 8, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Tipper: Wonderfully written and the comparison to the girls is outstanding. the lady is very talented and she writes beautifully.

  • Reply
    December 8, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    lovely poem, simple and deep at the same time.

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