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The old man, weathered by living, satisfied with 

his dogs and his life.

Settled down in the rocking chair on the front

porch of his cabin, 

and considered the fields in front and

beyond to the hills that are older than time 

was when time began.

Place is important and the land is a sweet and good

friend he thought &

We who have been blessed with the heart of

this sweet land 

know these things in ways the strangers do not.

They do not know of the births and deaths

that came and went right here through the time

of the Manahoac and their merry ways and

a million moons before

Gideon Brown took hold of these hollows.

Then, we were black and white.

And then it was the grey

and the blue and then…..

the red of the blood of our sons, in

a scarlet flood to the sea. 

It will never be over. Nothing is ever over. Things

just continue to be like a young doe leaping the

split rail fence by the river that is ever alive ever ever 

flowing down to the Bay and onward in an endless but

changeless rhythm of change.  

Where Jacob Jenkins was shot by that bluebelly

sniper was right there, near the old mill where the

new Yankees are hustling ahead with their idea

of progress, joined by the scalawags out for the

new prestiges of vanity. The old man is not fooled by

the fools who are fooling themselves.

And in time it will all be gone except...

Except for the ghosts of Dixie, praying in the darkest

of midnights, praying for that which is buried 

beneath the sad detritus of what the new Yankees

call benevolent progress.

“Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, All is Vanity.”

But we are not a vanity, saith the Ghosts. Leave us alone

in this bit of graceful, soft earth among these hard and timeless hills.

— ​​By David Floyd Stephens



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