Friday, July 25, 2014

This is the continuation of the Southwestern Pennsylvania poem.
I’ve watched the Chestnut Ridge turn from green to red and gold
And toured festivals where steam belches from tractors old.
I’ve read the words your patriotic sons dared to speak.
They fought for their liberty and to protect the weak.
I’ve fished for trout in brooks fed by icy mountain springs
And been scared by Ruffed Grouse, exploding with thunderous wings.
Pennsylvania, your streams chuckle and your rivers roar
Still keeping your covered bridges and small country store.
Your trails have turned to highways, your ferries are bridges
Building roads over and through thick glacial ridges.
I’ve been to Highland Games celebrating the Scots’ past
and worked factories where huge valves were poured and cast.
Your part in underground railway, helped to free black slaves.
Walking on your lakeshores, I’ve heard the soft lapping waves.
Osprey fly over your lakes with fish clutched in its claw.
I’ve eaten sandwiches piled high with French fries and slaw.
Germans, Irish, Polish, and Scots came to live and die.
They came to build their homes and shops, to work, sell, and buy.
They raised their children, passed on old ways while making the new.
Western Pennsylvania, all your children salute you.
I’ve climbed the steep hill crowned by Jumonville cross.
Finding love in those hills to raise children and taste loss.
I’ve watched storm clouds gather, then erupt with lightning streak.
The touch of your pale winter’s sunshine warms my chilled cheek.
I’ve driven the Wilderness Trail from Cumberland Gap
Through steep rugged lands where brave men came to hunt and trap.
Rivers that formed the Ohio were the settlers’ roads,
Local built flatboats carried them and their household goods.
Your small homesteads grew, fed by river’s trading flow
to become towns, earning wealth from above and below.

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