As My Son Heads South to Big Mountains and Broad Valleys


O’ Virginia: all rolling hills, blue-lavender

mountains, and Appalachian twang, country

stores and Dinosaur Land. O’ Virginia,

Virginia, your red-bells roadside, your light,

your sorrow, your tin-pan songs and screeching

owls; the Shenandoah’s black bark and quick

flowing creeks, your cattle, your thorough-

breds, your cool evenings, and crimson cheeks.

Grapes draped o’er vineyard lines, the crisp

tang of Virginia wines.

O’ Virginia! Virginia!

Jackson and Jefferson and Washington and

Lee, the days of chivalry, fleeing to be

free. Virginia, O’ Virginia, your land—green,

so green! My son comes to you, young

chestnut, plants his roots, sure of his

gut. As he walks the long colonnade will he

hear your beat, the sweat-drenched scent of

a tattered fleet? O’Virginia what will you do!

Feed him, hug him, see him through— highland,

lowland, swift rivers, morning dew.