I like to write poetry myself from time to time. Imagine my surprise to find not only a cemetary in the middle of the woods during my hike up Little Devil Stairs, but this sad poem in the cemetary. It commemorates the mountain people who had to leave their homes to create Shenandoah National Park. A photo of the cemetary is in my Little Devil Stairs post. I have transcribed the poem here.
“Why the Mountains are Blue”
By Wayne Baldwin
Enter here these Blue Mountains,
And enjoy the Sky-Line’s views,
Sample the streams and fountains,
But don’t forget the sacrifice that was made for you
That you can come and experience this National Park today,
Many lives were affected in many different ways.
While you relax and take in all this natural beauty,
I’d be remiss if I failed in my duty….
To tell of a people who once resided on this land,
Who toiled, labored, loved, laughed, and cried,
Having their lives altered by a “plan”,
And whose stories, many untold, shall never die.
Whose way of live and culture were exaggerated by many an unjust fact,
Whose property was condemned by a legislative act,
Who moved willingly or by force,
Changing forever their life’s course.
Out from the protection of the hollows and vales,
Out into resettlements or to properties their pittance procured at sales.
Looking over their shoulders with tears in their eyes,
Pitifully departing their old homes among the skies.
Leaving familiar sights, their homes, their burial plots,
Most left begrudgingly for some low country spots….
The blue of the mountains is not due to the atmosphere
It’s because there is a sadness which lingers here.
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