BANNER MOUNTAIN GIRL–#9

I WISH I COULD . . .  put my bare feet into a stream of water and be a child again.

Yvonne & Freeda Baker

Yvonne & Freeda Baker

Beside the Creek in Autumn

I wish I could feel the sun warm upon my back as I walk barefoot down a dusty road in summer.

I wish I could touch the velvety soft moss that grows in the woods, and hear again the crackle of dry leaves under my feet. Heaven is here on Earth in the forests. Nature is the pure, clean sparkling beauty that God gave us to enjoy.dsc_0081dsc_0085

I wish I could . . . hear again . . . the whippoorwill across the hollow on a still, warm night. And the mockingbird that perched on the roof of the house, singing sweetly, when I returned from a date.. . . the sounds of my happy teenage world. dsc_0661
I wish I could see again the morning sun upon the tall, thick yard grass in the spring at Banner Mountain.

My happy memory–the wonder of love in my heart for God, my love for Nature and for the people who love me.

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To Move the Mountains

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      To Move the Mountains

The mountain peaks are much too steep to climb
no matter how I move my anxious feet,
when melodies of life have lost their rhyme,
and darkest silence offers no retreat.
In ragged clothes that I am forced to claim,
I step unsure upon life’s numbered page,
a target far off course of youthful aim —
to walk with kings was then my pompous rage.
Yet when I look to hills beyond each peak
where One has promised when I walk in tune
with Him, I will find needed rest I seek,
like ospreys sleeping near soft, sandy dune.
Though paupers weep and kings will sometimes cry,
with God, tall mountains do not seem too high.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

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And So It Was A Sin To Kill That Bird

The Sin of Lee Henry and Matilda

Lee Henry Hammond swore he’d kill that bird.
Without a pause, it whip-poor-will’d all night
outside his bedroom window.  “It’s a sin
to kill a mockingbird,” Matilda said.
“This bird’s a whippoorwill,” reminded Lee.
He quickly took his rifle from its case.
“Oh, no! don’t shoot the bird,” Matilda begged.
Lee paid no mind and stepped out to the porch.
“Now, go to bed. I can take care of this,”
he said.  His wife reluctantly obeyed
but stayed awake in case he needed help.
And soon he yelled, “Matilda, bring a light.”
She ran to him with flashlight shining bright.
Lee pointed to a tree beside the house.
She cast the beam upon an oak tree’s bough.
The light reflected beady, blazing eyes.
Why must I help him kill this whippoorwill,
Matilda thought, but knew the reason why.
Her wedding vows had brought her to this task.
She’d promised to obey and duty-bound
she shut her eyes and shone the glowing light.
Kaboom! The pellets blasted through the leaves.
Wings flapped away to nearby tree of thorns.
Lee grabbed a slingshot, stuck a stone inside.
“Come quick!” he shrieked. “Matilda, shine the light!”
Matilda beamed the ray upon the bird
which called once more before the blow that felled
it from the thorn tree’s highest limb.  The thud–
when whippoorwill contacted rocky ground–
caused sudden chills to frost Matilda’s heart.
“It was a sin to kill that whippoorwill!”
She lay awake and worried for their fate.
Lee Henry Hammond smiled himself to sleep.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

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Summer

I like summer
when days are long,
when easy winds whisper
a sweet and tender song,
when cool rains fall gently
and soft dust becomes damp,
when lightning bugs flicker
like an out-going lamp,
when the whippoorwill’s call
echoes through the night
and my heart knows
that everything is all right.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

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From My Diary, May 21,1984

May 21, 1984–Monday night–8:50 p.m.

The spring rain is barely over.  Trees drip with water. Lightning flashes across the night sky and thunder sounds in the distance.  A whippoorwill calls — clear, sweet chords that remind me of my childhood. Thank you, Lord, for whippoorwills. May all my children have a whippoorwill to listen to, sometime, during their lifetime.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

Eastern Whip-poor-will

The Family at Evening

At twilight, the fireflies
light their lanterns,
one at a time.

Jumping from porch,
Jimmy runs,
fruit jar in hand,
grabs lighting bugs
while whippoorwills
repeat themselves,
like Grandma.

Lindy brings Ole Jerse
from the pasture at
Weaver Creek. “Nearly stepped
on a copperhead,” she says.

“They crawl this time
of day,” Daddy warns.

He tells Mama
his check didn’t come.
She nods.  “Candy took her
first step today.”

Daddy reaches for
Candy’s hand.  Mama looks
at the sky.  Dark clouds
boil in the northwest.
Much like when the
tornado hit Banner Mountain.

c Copyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

Awarded Fifth Place in Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas’
Annual Anthology Contest, 2005