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Ozark Born and Bred

By Mary E. Adair

Springs, creeks, and branches
Into Elk River flow
As on past Pineville
That tributary does go.

Big Sugar and Little Sugar
Creeks circled some land
Where strong old grape vines
Bound trees within their strand.

And you could cross at the ford
If the water was low,
Or else across the Swinging Bridge
You would have to go.

The longest of its kind
With steel cables strung
And a walkway of planks
Upon the lower ones hung.

Moma told us of crossing with
Young brother on her hip
Walking barefoot on the cables
Where the boards did slip

We took Moma back though
Sixty years had gone by
No egress to the island
At least that we could try.

Great-Grandma's farm also
Was posted "do not Trespass"
And we weren't even able
To picnic on the grass.

Along the highway
Outside of town,
An Adult Book Store
Made Moma frown.

When sister told her
It likely sold porn
I thought to myself
What a place to be born

Such decadence would
Not have been seen
When I lived there
While yet a pre-teen

The old folks are likely
'Rollin' in their graves'
And I'm glad that I can't
Hear their rants and raves.

That the residents now
Allow such a wicked display
Made me wonder if anyone
Had tried to say 'nay'

Pineville is nestled
Down from the road
Where lumber was once hauled,
Yes, many a load

There are hills with maple
And black walnut trees
Punctuated with shale bluffs
In perpendicular degrees

Caves and wooded hollers,
That's valleys, you know,
Offered good hiding spots
For the outlaws to go

For these are the Ozarks
Where Jesse did roam
And his brother often stayed
At the Younger's home

Kinfolks to me it's true
On my Daddy's side
And these are the hills
Where they did hide.

The first Jesse James movie
Was filmed in Pineville
And the ASPCA was begun
Because of the great 'horse kill.'

Forty were sent jumping
From the bluff--
Killing so many to get
Success was rough.

Townfolks who hired out to stroll
And other things extras do,
Included some of my grandparents
And great-grands, too.

The house I was born in
Seems very small now
Partly because the barn
Is all gone, I allow.

Grandmother tithed her garden
A tenth saved for all
The visiting preachers
Who came to call.

Yes, I was truly
Ozark born and bred,
Yet I wasn't reared there
But in Texas instead.

I'm forced to wonder
Looking back today
If rather than off to Texas
In Pineville we did stay

Would I maybe be
A different me
Cupped within hills
Instead of horizon free.

For here you can glimpse
The mountains 200 miles away
So for now, I'm glad that
In Texas we did stay.

©September 2010 Mary E. Adair

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