Jesse Stuart (1906-1984) is perhaps Kentucky’s most well-known poet. In 1990 my late wife’s family held a family reunion had a cousin’s farm across the road from W Hollow, Jesse Stuart’s farm. We were allowed to tour the farm, but his widow still lived in the house so we didn’t get to see that.

Kentucky is my land.
It is a place beneath the wind and sun
In the very heart of America.
It is bounded on the east, north, and west by rivers
And on the south by mountains.

The ancient Dumnonia (deep) lived in Cornwall and Devon. They both spoke Cornish. Cornwall calls foreigners Emmet (red)—Devon calls them Grockle (clowns). I salute Ann Southwoode Suddeth, my 8th-great grandmother, born in Devon. [Port Emmet is a Cornish joke] (both names may draw some anger)   


Anglo-Saxon riddle

My home is not silent, but I am not blaring.
The lord means for us to travel together.
I am quicker than he and sometimes stronger,
However, he keeps on going for longer.
Often, I rest, but he runs on.
For as long as I do live, I live in him.
If we part from one another
It is I who must die.

Hint: home is the river, lord is the current        

Rough one: river fish, trout perhaps

James Whitcomb Riley

James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916), the Hoosier poet, the originator of Little Orphan Annie. When I was in high school, a lady gave a reading of his poetry. She lived in his house as a child, and I never forgot his poetry.


When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,

And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,

And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,

And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence…

Poetry Month wouldn’t be complete without Robert Frost (1874-1963), born in California but spent his life in New England. One of my favorite poets, he was the winner of 4 Pulitzers.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth…

Anglo-Saxon riddle.

Even when alive I do not speak.
Anyone who wishes to, takes me captive, cuts off my head.
Folks bite my bare body,
I harm no one lest they cut me first.
Then I quickly make them cry.

Figure it out?


Aye, Scottish am I

April 6 is National Tartan Day AKA Scottish Independence Day. On April 6, 1320 the Declaration of Arbroath was signed. I salute my 8th-great grandfather, David Suddeth, who emigrated from Scotland to Jamestown about 1625.

(Nahuatl Aztec poem)

Huitzilopochtli is a warrior,

One who acts from the heavens
Chooses his own trail.
Oh splendid dweller high in the clouds,
Oh dweller in the place of icy wings,
He makes the walls of fire fall down
Where feathers are harvested.
And so he goes to war
And overcomes the folks
Impatient for war, the Flaming One arrives,
He seethes where whirling dusts arise.
Rescue us!
War arises, flames arise.
Those Pipitlan are our foes.

[Pipitlan was south of Tenochtitlan]

[Xiuhteccuhtli was Lord of Fire and Life after death]

History’s 1st Poet

Writing in Sumerian cuneiform, Princess Enheduanna’s poetry was celebrated a 1000 years before Homer. Five of her works survive. Modern poets are copying her style!

Temple hymn:

O house
jeweled lapis herbs fleck the shining bed
heart-soothing place of the Lady of the Steppe
Emush brickwork glistening and pure
its burnished clay placed firmly (on the earth)
your sky-rising wall sprawls over the high plain
for the one who tends the ewes…

An Anglo-Saxon riddle:

A wonderful warrior dwells on this land.
Two dumb things make him grow bright between them.
Foes use him against one another.
His strength is fierce though a woman may tame him.
He will humbly serve both men and women
If they but know the knack of tending to him
And feeding him well.
He makes folks happy.
He makes their lives better.

But if they let him grow proud
This rude friend soon turns against them.

[2 hints: sticks and stone may…]

You didn’t solve it? Fire.

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