This Is Not a Song That Grandpa Knew

Norweigan Hood

“Norweigan Hood” © 2011 by Jane Shoenfeld
Not one of the reels he played
on his fiddle for weddings.
More like Tom Dooley,
or Down in the Heart Country.
In this crooning I might long
for the bittersweet harmony
of Kentucky’s blue moon

rising over Bill Monroe’s cold body.
This song is not the trilling
of the red-winged blackbird
outside the window of our first home.
I wish I knew which song to hum
under the bruised moon of divorce,
or how to whistle the waltz out the door.

Am I the brother to the walking bass
that is father of this ballad?
Is this my straw-hatted band
in double-time, my mandolin picker
stitching his wounded heart?
Is this my voice drowned at sea
with the Wildwood Flower’s darling?

Strike up your joyful gospel
elsewhere, I’ll brood inside
this lament for withered love,
blind to passion’s cardinals
and pining for Doc Watson’s
twelve string chords
that can move mountains.

How many years of marriage down,
and she who once joined my refrains
is as gone as my lost vinyl
of the Clinch Mountain Boys.
Oh where is my Mother
Maybelle Carter, where
is her heart’s lullaby?

Published in Chariton Review