adventures in dysthymia

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Down in southern Ohio,
Back in the Hocking Hills,
Where the pulp wood grew
To feed the paper mills,
And the creeks ran milky white
From the overflow,
There I was a boy
Many years ago.

I was just a youngster
Wandering the woods;
The tree-lined hills and hollows
Were the best of neighborhoods.
I'd climb the sandstone cliffs
To look out over my realm,
For I was a king in his kingdom,
A captain at his helm.

A box of photographs,
One flint arrowhead,
Are all that remains
Of the life I led.
These are now my treasures,
The memories they bring,
But once I had much more,
When I was a king.

I swam the ice-cold creeks,
Explored forgotten caves;
Found buried arrowheads,
Lived through some close shaves.
The ways were steep and slippery,
It was far too easy to fall,
But I'd climb up to my throne
For I was king of it all.

Stephen Brooke ©2008

Intended as a song, not a poem -- the third stanza would be the chorus. Although I did live in such a place for a while as a child, the story here is largely extrapolation rather than autobiographical.

I cannibalized some of this from a different song that had sat stalled in my notes for a while, about 'the hermit in the hollow.' I finally realized that there was no real story there so I jettisoned the hermit and changed the focus.


Anonymous said...

Once again you've presented a very illustrative poem/lyrics. I can almost smell the wood pulp!

btw I am working on something to submit to you for your next PVM. I apologise for not getting anything to you for the last one, fatigue got to me first. But I have an idea of something to submit, so with that focus I'll be scribbling away. I don't do enough drawing, or anything much with my state of health. It's very frustrating!

Stephen B said...

I just typed in 'when I was a king' at Google and my blog already showed up, seven hours later. That's surprising. Or it is to me anyway!

Btw, the phrase 'when I was a king' comes from one of Kipling's poems. Whether he borrowed from someone earlier, I don't know...

Anonymous said...

Wow! I just came across this by accident. I live in Hocking Hills and I own Good Earth Cabins, a cabin rental company. You hit it right on the nose. At 47 I am the QUEEN!! If you ever get back home look us up. These hill are filled with beautiful poetry.

Stephen B said...

Fifty years ago, that part of Ohio wasn't near being the tourist destination it is now. I lived for a couple years ('57-'58) on my grandfather's farm there (he had already passed away) and spent vacation time on and off until I was 14 and the family moved permanently to Florida. We were around midway between Gibisonville and Conkle's Hollow, along the Big Pine Creek (or was it the Little Pine? I forget...). It's the home to the 'Saltpeter Caves,' a group of 7 (at least the way most folks count 'em) shallow sandstone caves. Alas, it is no longer in the family. The state always wanted to buy those caves for a park. Wonder if they ever did?

S.L. Corsua said...

Imaginative. So rich with images that bring me to (or a clear glimpse of) the world you've depicted here. Thanks for sharing this piece (I'd love to hear it sung). Cheers.