adventures in dysthymia

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

WHEN I WAS A KING

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.

5 comments:

Acoustic Eagle 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.