Authors: Louise McNeill
University of Pittsburgh Press
Published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15260
Copyright Â© 1988, University of Pittsburgh Press
All rights reserved
Feffer and Simons, Inc., London
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The milkweed ladies.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1. McNeill, LouiseâBiographyâYouth. 2. Poets, Americanâ20th centuryâBiography. 3. Farm lifeâWest Virginia. 4. West VirginiaâSocial life and customs. I. Title.
PS3525.A283Z467Â Â Â Â 1988Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 811â².52 [B]Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 88-1334
ISBN 0-8229-5406-0 (pbk.)
A portion of this book first appeared in
, vol. 13, no. 4, 1985.
“Night at the Commodore” first appeared in
, vol. 22, nos. 1â2, 1984.
My thanks to the editors of these journals for permission to reprint.
ISBN-13: 978-0-8229-7977-7 (electronic)
To Roger W. Pease
whose earth-love and long labor went into the slow construction of this book
Now they have bridged the canyon of the Gauley
And built a lock above the Swago shoal
To float the barges past the lazy shallow
With loads of river sand and mountain coal.
Along the shore where passing Mingo warriors
Built drift-wood fires to parch Ohio maize
Cook ovens glare red-eyed upon the darkness
And belch their cinders at the fevered days.
But in the broken rushes of the inlet
Where herons rose with beaten-winged alarm
That autumn evening when an Irish rascal
Knelt by the stream to bathe his wounded arm
â¦White herons sleep, their folded wings unstained
By all that blood the savage Gauley drained
From pale-faced men whose kindred now possess
The last dark current of the wilderness.
Â Â Â (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1939)
Acknowledgment and appreciation to staff members
of the University of Pittsburgh Press: Frederick A. Hetzel, Catherine Marshall, and Peter Oresick.
My gratitude to Maggie Anderson, a young poet from West Virginia. Maggie believed in
The Milkweed Ladies
and, when I was disabled by an accident, volunteered to act as my agent. She was successful in placing the book, and then gave her editorial skill, her poetic intuition, and her knowledge of the mountain culture as she and I shaped and tightened the manuscript to its final form.
Many others have contributed editorial suggestions, financial aid, encouragement, and factual notes. My appreciation to Norman Fagan, RenÃ© de Chochor, Walter Havighurst, Ruth Cantor, Dr. Robert Munn (deceased), Gayle Mason, Sharon Tate, Larry Groce, Thelma D. Quick, “Young Jim,” Annabelle, Rae, Doug, “J.B.,” Devon, Jean, and Reed W.
Among those who, in the period 1865â1988, saved or helped to save “The Farm”: Captain Jim and Granny; G.D. and Grace; Jim and Annabelle. Also Ward K., in his time; “C.P.,” in his time; The Slashing, in its year; andâin current timeâElisabeth, Blix, Cheryl, Doug and Dave Morrison, and Jamie C.
Milkweed ladies, so fair and fine
Won't you have a sip of my columbine?
Or a thimble of thimbleberry wine?