Stockbridge, Georgia

Georgia Senior Poet Laureate 2004

Barbara Ruth Sampson, 90, winner of the 2004 National Senior Poet Laureate and Georgia Senior Poet Laureate titles, muses with her canine "critter critic" Heather, 10. Ms. Sampson, a retired teacher who lives part of the time with her daughter in Stockbridge, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta)--and the other part in the beautiful "Cherokee-country" mountains where she taught for many years--is an avid, active poet who celebrated her 90th birthday in June 2004 by entering poetry contests. Barbara is an advocate of poetry writing as a form of mental, emotional and spiritual fitness exercise for everyone--especially seniors--who may be physically handicapped but intellectually fit and in need of workouts that words can provide.


Spring in the mountains,
but you are not here.
Yet, somehow, my eager eyes discern you
faintly profiled against darkening clouds,
hear your voice echoing in sky-shattering thunder
above the splintered silver waterfalls,
feel you in the profound absence of footsteps
along the leaf-padded trail bordering
the lavishly blossoming rhododendron thicket.
I sense you in the profound grandeur
of this unpeopled wildness,
relax with utter satisfaction in this spot
exclusive to lichen on boulders,
protective moss on northside of trees,
and the drama of an eagle launching himself
into vastness of sky above rugged mountains.

You are here in this eden
that prohibits raucous, man-made noises
within its sacred solitude,
and comes your voice to my depth of yearning a luminescence of all past glory.
The cadence of your robust laughter,
profound and sincere, makes me smile,
my heart to sing.
So good there is nothing to intrude,
here in the mountains of spring.
With you.

According to Amy Kitchener, Barbara is a Word Worker, meaning "One who works with words." Although much of her time is spent in a wheelchair, the 2004-2005 National American Senior Poet Laureate demonstrates that with the Muse as her guide, she transcends physical limitation and journeys mentally to wonderful places-- including the mountain metaphorically represented in her poem. Thus, it is a place of physical grandeur and the mystical elevated inner plane of self which Amy Kitchener refers to as "Mount Olympus of the Mind." There, the higher one's consciousness ascends, the more likely the poet is to meet many muses, including the Greater Muse whose name is unlimited within human imagination. Many prefer the name God. Barbara Ruth Sampson prefers "You."

Barbara Ruth Sampson died on May 26, 2006. Her Signature Poem can be viewed in the Register of Signature Poems section of this website by clicking on Sampson

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