NORTH CAROLINA SENIOR POET LAUREATE
Joyce A. Taylor

On Blood Mountain
(Legends say that the streams ran red and the ditches collected blood.)

The creeper grows where native blood was spilled
by tribal foes. The crimson color weeps
where stands of Cherokee and Creek were stilled.

Down trail and rock-slope, trenches, silence-filled,
the mountain towns ran red, and thicket steeps.
The creeper grows where native blood was spilled.

By whispered words of braves, the lore distilled
on winds of Slaughter Gap. The warrior sleeps
where stands of Cherokee and Creek were stilled.

On sacred land where native sons were killed,
in wilderness, through mountain, marsh, and seeps,
the creeper grows. Where native blood was spilled,

vine fingers reach; their clinging tendrils, skilled,
grasp stone, embattled ground. The woodbine keeps
where stands of Cherokee and Creek were stilled.

A scarlet blanket claims the boundaries willed
as tribal hunting grounds. The color sweeps.
The creeper grows where native blood was spilled,
where stands of Cherokee and Creek were stilled.
Joyce A. Taylor
Murphy, North Carolina
Joyce A. Taylor , 62, Murphy, is a Human Resources secretary and editor of two company magazines. Her poems recently ran in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, an online literary magazine. She was a pupil of 2004 National SPL Barbara Ruth Sampson. Sign: Sagittarius.