Reflections of the Delta
An old Cadillac floats past the snow-white fields,
Its old dents have traveled here before,
Soft blue-sky surrounds the car, enveloping the ground,
The cotton ball clouds follow the ageing white car,
As we pass the ripe fields, I feel a sense of peace,
I belong here, among the sprawling magnolias and cypresses.
I pass by worn brick houses that sag into the earth,
Aged tin roofs rust to match the dark soil,
Only dilapidated store fronts remain,
A transient monument to ancient greatness.
In Cleveland there are too many yard crosses to count,
This oasis draws people who continue tradition,
They greet strangers as if they had known each other forever.
Here, people preserve the old ways through dress, décor and kindness.
As I walk through downtown, I wish I could stay forever,
But life snatches me away from this strange paradise.
Again, an old Cadillac floats across the cracked road,
The whirling clouds retreat behind me as white gold is harvested,
Rolled into bails by men with no opportunity,
Given shoddy homes and failing schools with a false promise future.
As the long car sails through the never-ending white ocean,
I think about the people who will never live this land.
Trapped in a world of concrete, tweets and posts,
Ivory towers that touch the gray New England sky,
While they denounce these proud people of being deluded and irrational,
Believing their few genuine experiences give them that power.
A sad notion as I look out the window to the passing pecan trees,
Waving a sort of goodbye to as the fading Cadillac hums by.
As the cracked farm road becomes more than a two-lane highway,
And this whimsical dreamland evaporates before my eyes.
Eugene Tibbs won first place in the Gaithersburg Book Festival Youth Poetry Contest. He writes: I am a high school junior at Landon School in Bethesda, MD. I casually write poetry when traveling with family. My poetry is concentrated on themes of family and Southern identity from living in Memphis, TN for two years during the pandemic. My experiences with Southern music, food, and culture manifest in my work as well as my deep knowledge of both classical and Southern literature. When writing, I focus on bringing the issues of crippling poverty and economic decay within the deep South to those who are removed from the South. By doing this I believe I am making a difference in the minds of those with power in the Capital area.
Image byWilly Bearden, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons