They say that the essence of a home never quite fades, even when we relocate to a new place. In fact, the feeling of a hometown can smolder inside the heart like a burning coal. The singer and songwriter, Tom Waits, says: “I never knew my hometown until I stayed away too long.” Sometimes distance can even intensify one’s love of home.
Brenda Bramblette writes that she attended Shawnee State University from 1988-1991. In 1991 she moved to Atlanta to pursue her career. She says that she does keep in touch with friends and family and returns to Portsmouth often. Her poetry has won some awards and she is listed in the Who’s Who of Poetry registry. I’m happy to learn that she reads this column online and still composes poems with regularity.
Here is a poem that I would classify as a love song to her hometown of Portsmouth:
Down in the Valley
Down in the valley in the hills
The Ohio River feels peaceful and tranquil
Quiet beauty, peaceful and still
On the banks and bottoms
Ones will come to think and heal
Down in the valley and in the hills
Many come and many go
Land of our Indians so long ago
Generations we will never know
Setting on the banks of the Ohio
Lovers laugh, children play
Families gather on sunny days
Reminiscing of the good ole days
Down in the valley in the hills.
This place of quiet beauty and hills—how nicely Brenda Bramblette weaves with words her sense of home.
Address poem submissions and correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org or Neil Carpathios, Shawnee State University, Dept. of English & Humanities, 940 Second Street, Portsmouth, OH 45662. (740-351-3478).