Cecil J. Sharp (1859-1924)
by Jane Hicks
Sheriff Dugger fetched the songcatcher
just after supper. The last long, gold
light of Midsummer’s Eve lit
the path along the well-worn trace.
In the pretty talk of those old
“love songs,” the Englishman asked Daddy
to sing; the root seeking the branch, song
of heath and highland, ballad of hill and hollow.
Daddy took down his bow and spun
a night-web. Songcatcher penned
the song to the page, a soot-speckled
snowfield, butterflies pinned in a case.
The songcatcher’s lady caught
swift words, a swallow in flight,
snatched the sweet old words
from the honeysuckle moonlight.
Sun rose on Gypsen Davey riding away
with the lady, Daddy sung dry, strong
coffee, sweet milk, sorghum and biscuit,
manna on the dew-sparkled morn.
Blood & Bone Remember: Poems from Appalachia
Jesse Stuart Foundation, January 1, 2005