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Going Back to Bimble

If I went I'd go through Shepherdtown
and Burning Springs; I'd cross the stream
some people still call Hogskin Branch
and pass through Treadway just before
the Pinhook Chapel, where I heard
the preacher pulled a pistol and shot
the bell after the rope broke
then called a special collection for
another rope and took in twice
the tithes of the last two months
and said, hellfire, he ought to shoot
that bell more often; and then in a mile
or so I'd go through Brightshade
and follow Bad Jack Branch—
so-called for a stubborn ancestor
when he ran rowdy through these parts—
till it crosses Collins Fork and then
in no time I'd be at Bluehole
and that's about halfway to Bimble;
I'd say I'd follow on the Fork
since it's the best stretch of country
God spread out anywhere
and go on up to Cottongin
to see if anyone still resides
in what they called Big Rock House—
a marvel of design for its day—
then circle back through Bonnyglade,
Bee Gum, and Timber Tree,
when at last I'd come through Maupin Gap
and down below I'd see it, Bimble—
the little string of houses strung
along the Redbird bottom,
where Mrs. Jonsee Ponder lived,
who people said knew everything
she had so many books; I'd like
to visit her and ask her why,
after all these years and all the sorrow
that came to Bimble, why she stayed—
if I go, I'll go through Shepherdtown.

Maurice Manning

Smartish Pace

Issue 20

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