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My first Halloween as a blogger (that was 2007) I wrote a couple of posts listing my favorite songs with supernatural themes. This one, by my man Tim O’Brien, was number ten on that list.

“Restless Spirit, Wandering”: from Tim O’Brien’s 2003 CD Traveler, begins as a story about Oglethorpe, a teenage Civil War fatality who’s said to haunt O’Brien’s home (and whom O’Brien, alas, has never encountered) and goes on as a meditation on O’Brien’s wish to tell in music the stories Oglethorpe and other spirits could tell. He captures the plight of ghosts in one crystalline line: “You won’t admit your life is taken, to your death not yet awakened.” The melody haunts the ear too; a sweetly wistful folk-bluegrass fusion you can’t quite forget.


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a leaf,
dry and simpering,
a winsome jade of last year’s browning;

a wayward spark
an abandoned child of blue lightning
that startles the sky but brings no rain

chase each other around the hill
demure as wallflowers at a dance
until, at last, they catch hands and flame

as the world goes up in a fiddle shriek
of fiery notes
nearer and more brazen than the sun

the asphalt on the road below
bubbles and clings,
chuckling at the fighters

digging frantic firebreaks;
groaning as the roaring ghosts
of pines, blood-orange

and exploding,
exchange winks with the fickle wind
and sashay away to new corners

beyond reach until the tankers come.

“Fire on the Mountain” is the name of an oldtime fiddle tune and of a bluegrass and oldtime music show on TNN back in the 1980s.

I wrote a poem with that title for a college creative writing class in 1983, after an experience I never wish to repeat: riding through a literal fire on the mountain, one late summer evening, when my dad, brother and I were playing in a band up at Coker Creek, TN. That first poem was and is (I still have it stashed back) a piece of crap. I never quite get them right, but this version, twenty-eight years later and inspired by a comment on a previous post, is a lot closer to right than the original. 😉

Poem copyright 2011 by Faire Lewis.

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Check It Out!

Some of you may recall that some time ago I wrote a post about a curse placed on Alexander Hamilton and other court officials by a relative of a murder victim for whose killer Hamilton was instrumental in winning an acquittal.

The other day, I received a request from Jeremey Cagle of Clap for Bacon to reprise that post at his blog. Jeremey photographs, writes about, and makes videos of landmarks and history of New York City sites.

I agreed to permit him the use of my material, and just received word today that he had done so. He has added a number of photographs pertinent to the case, video of the well where the victim’s body was found, and additional historical information that places the story more firmly in context.

I’m amazed and very pleased with his presentation! Do go over and take a look–and tell him Faire sent you. 😉

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In Memoriam

After great pain, a formal feeling comes. . .Emily Dickinson

In memory of those lost in the storms of April 27, 2011~~

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for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

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Hi all–at the moment I’m spending an awful lot of time in waiting rooms. My mom was flown to UT Hospital via Lifestar yesterday (Wednesday 11/10). She is being treated for pneumonia and having tests to see whether she may have some heart blockage.

So it’ll be some time before I can update the blog. Although I have the full support and loving presence of my family and friends around me, I’m worn to a shadow and scared shitless. Any and all prayers are greatly appreciated.

Love & hugs–

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