Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

The Dam

Judith O. Anderson

The dam rises there, between the barren hills,
And catches, traps, restrains, deflects
A living stream whose history is defiled
Behind impediment where water collects.
Beyond the dam where once a torrent pulsed
A trickle works loose, fighting for life,
And dissipates in sandy oblivion,
Potential gone, exhausted in strife
Against the is, mourning for the ought.
And all around, the yellow barren hills
Surround this lake of tears; roots of desert plants
Fail to reach or feed as though dam wills
Their stunted growth on these not lifeless hills.
But over all the dam, controlled, restrained,
Offering the hope of life, of growth, of fruit
Where even hope of hope is feigned.


Judith O. Anderson lives on 20 acres at the end of a dead end road in St. Clair County. She recently obtained her first Confederate Rose plant and points with pride when it blooms, but as much as she loves flowers, she is more famous as a "seed undertaker" than gardener. She is more successful as a grandmother and wife and mother, and to fill out her life, she works with her husband in a nonprofit organization.

© Judith O. Anderson

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012