Picture/Poem | June 2016

"Bygone" by Sara Pearce

“Bygone” by Sara Pearce

My Mother’s Dulcimer

by Sherry Cook Stanforth

I hear the whisper of it
sliding from her grip,
catch that smack of wood
on concrete, pick it up,
see the split face, a long
cut along the sound hole.

She reaches out, shaking
as if she’s sick in bed
receiving the last grandbaby
in her arms. She cradles it
against her heart, gives me
a look: I will never play
this one again. Fingers
brush cracks stretching
past the wicked fault-line
then she strikes a chord.

My mother’s dulcimer sang
like no other – bird’s eye maple
faced with hummingbird
sound holes, hourglass body
droning out mixolydian tears –
those stone hard ballads
we’ve all come to know.


Poem / Founder and director of Thomas More College’s Creative Writing Vision Program, Sherry Cook Stanforth honors the voices of her mountain heritage. Her poetry collection “Drone String” was nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. With her husband, David, she raises four children, two trusty hound dogs, a hive of bees and a garden.

Picture / “Bygone,” Mixed-Media collage by Sara Caswell-Pearce. Cotton rag paper (hand-dyed with plants and rusted metal objects), antique sheet music, record sleeve, text, booklet cover and book cover, vintage illustration, ink, chalk. (2016)

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