Posted by: ktzefr | December 28, 2010

Appalachian Poetry and Gypsy Music: Verses and Vignettes 2

“Give me the names for things, just give me their real names,/Not what we call them, but what/They call themselves when no one’s listening–“

Outside my kitchen window birds decorate the feeder…a bird is a pajaro, vogel, oiseau, chourui, madar, uccello, passaro and many other names in many different languages, but…does a bird have a name for itself in bird language?  If you read Watership Down at some point, you learned a bit of Lapine, the language spoken by the rabbits in the book.  The nomadic rabbits, the homeless or those without rabbit holes, were called hlessil, but I don’t recall and can’t find anywhere the name (if a name was actually given) for a regular rabbit with a home.  Of course this was all fiction, so who knows how a bunny might refer to himself…


“December.  Everything’s black and brown.  Or half-black and half-brown/What’s still alive puts its arms around me,/amen from the evergreens/That want my heart on their ribbed sleeves.”

We have holly and ivy and yew in the yard and a Fraser Fir in the living room.  The tree will stay up until after the new year begins.  When I was growing up in Kentucky we took down the tree a day or two after Christmas.  It was as if the “story” of our modern-day holiday hit a climax at Christmas dinner and then ended abruptly.  I like holding onto the holiday, the lingering, magical feeling that spreads through the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the quiet moments to read, reflect, and reminisce.

Come in and sit for awhile in a slant of afternoon sunlight…












We’ve collected ornaments over the years from places far and near.
















The islands…














Puerto Rico and Mexico…













The Eastern Shore and points south…














Do you have favorites on your tree?  Little fabric and crystal and papier mache doodads that are worthless and priceless at the same time?

These mice sat atop our first Christmas tree — small, artificial, and all white, as if covered with snow — that adorned our miniscule living room in an apartment on a college campus.  Other things have fallen by the wayside, but the mice are still around.


“Pre-solstice winter light laser-beaked, sun over Capricorn,/Dead-leaf-and-ice-mix grunged on the sidewalk and driveway./Short days.  Short days.  Dark soon the light overtakes.”

Sky over DC in the after-Christmas, Reagan Airport rush hour…


I’m enjoying a little after-Christmas downtime with a cup of tea (Copper Knot Hongcha), candles in the fireplace (it’s way too windy for a fire), and a little gypsy music.  Kistehen Tanczenekar (The Little Cow Dance Band of Budapest) singing “Viragok a Reten” (Flowers on the Meadow).  Children join in the chorus with a few silly lyrics — “Oh, this field has many a beautiful flower/Peter, try to smile, not glower/Donny don’t talk so sour/Katie don’t burp with such power.”  I searched for and discovered a You Tube video with the band and the kids and the song and the meadow HERE.   Hungarians having fun…

New Year’s Resolution:  Don’t forget to sing and dance!

[The poetry quoted is from Charles Wright’s Appalachia (“The Writing Life”)]

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