Please help the Black Earth Institute continue to make art and grow community so needed for our time. Donate now »

a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Robin Chapman

Robin Chapman
Girl Scout Summer Camp, 1953
Mist-kissed in the deep woods,
scent of laurel and azalea and pine,
bear scat and the Middle Prong
of the Little River, pouring white water
down the chute we ride, gathering speed
through boulders to hurl down the slide
of a twelve-foot drop to the pool below,
cold, so cold we can hardly breathe the scents
that twine the banks, the hemlocks rising
on either side—white fire of dogwood,
trees we can’t name, old as my own
forebears, trappers and Cherokee
women, missing still in the tree diagram
of ancestry—shared breath of deep
mountainside, shock of creek—I breathe
you in, mist, cloud, Great Smoky Mountain
land, breathe you out to the waters
that move skyward and earthward and claim
no country in their endless cycling.
Robin Chapman is author of eight books of poetry, most recently The Eelgrass Meadow and One Hundred White Pelicans (Tebot Bach). She is recipient of Appalachia’s 2010 Helen Howe Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared recently in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Cortland Review, Prairie Schooner, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.


©2024 Black Earth Institute. All rights reserved.  |  ISSN# 2327-784X  |  Site Admin