How different now the pasture, nurturing scrub pines, sweet gums, blackjacks the livestock long gone. But Houston's horse
Maria Martin on John James Audubon in honor of Maria Martin, 1796-1863 by Fred Bassett If you know the gentleman well, you know he beguiled a few days here in Charleston with the Reverend BachmanC this commodious house already chocked to the cracks with children, wife, and me. Oh, that Mr. Audubon had the run of the place. And joyful fire to set a woman'ss heart ablaze, not that you would ever imagine such from the visage I see in the mirror. Most days, the two men were afield, searching for some good feathers to skin and re-stuff for the painter's eye. I lived my days in the background, so I was happy to paint that for him. Beyond Charleston, I doubt anyone has ever heard my name. Even here, few know my hands painted the franklinia in his rendering of Bachman's warbler. You wouldn't know this either, but I painted the rare pair, first and just for him, after he had gone back North without ever laying eyes on them. In truth, I am the background, waiting for him to perch the prize in my branches, male above the female, just as I knew he would. This poem was inspired by the author's thoughts on John James Audubon's stay with the Rev. Bachman of Charleston, South Carolina, where the naturalist met the Rev.'s sister-in-law, Maria Martin, in the 1830s. A watercolor
by Vanessa K. Eccles In the night of the South, There is a song that is played. That is made with wings, not with mouth, And with passing hours doesn’t fade. Every day at dark, Their music begins to play. It’s the night’s lovely mark, That reminds me of home when I’m away. A never-ending song of summer From these tiny creatures of God. They sing a beautiful little number, While they’re nestled in the sod. Often times I love to sit, And listen to the nature’s track. In a world that somehow I fit, Although, often I lack. In this world of God’s own hand, He left us a piece of Heaven above. Nature’s own perfect band, That reminds us of His love. When peace escapes you And city life becomes long, Return home to the place you knew, And listen for the cricket’s song. Vanessa K. Eccles is currently an English major at Troy University in Dothan, Alabama, as well as a former intern at Deep South. She completed her first novel last year and is working on her second.