peace in the valley

sunlit christmas afternoon
with my twin sons in tow
the family carriage slowly floated
over red clay pastoral paintings
a pilgrimage
to the piece of earth
that grows greener
over my father’s bones

they looked so like him today

i had not gone to the rolling place
since returning to my kentucky home
my eyes filled not with tears
the purpose of the visit
for my sons to know

eager grandson’s ears listened
as i shared with a mother’s detail
a story learned the night before
about their great great grandfather
good old george

this far away cousin storyteller
with the closest unfamiliar eyes
gave me a most unexpected gift
unwrapping family mystery
revelation in the form of words

he waxed romantic
about the brothers six
who came over the mountain
from virginia
originally englishmen
by the name of westley

one of them taken by indians
another married cherokee
so we have you sweet one
his father was named eli

the why’s, wherefores, and what county
all settled in the rising lush
to live a life complete
growing tobacco
loving women
burying sons
and mothers prematurely

this bourbon holy land
saved by a merciful god

where there is eternal
peace in the valley

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