This Green

Mayor

Madeline Rogero
mayor@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-2040

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Poem read for East Tennessee PBS, “The Great American Read,” on September 13, 2018

By Marilyn Kallet



This Green

Green, I want you green, Lorca
crooned. Verde. He never dreamed
East Tennessee. Here, he could have 

dived into  
green songs gathered in 
magnolia leaves, sycamores.

The oaks would have waved, 
Green wind. Verde viento.
No one would have shot him

here. Well, not unless
he stepped on private property!
Then Dolly would have

belted a ballad for him,
Jack Neely would have
written his secret history!

Every leaf is a scroll
from our land, a letter
from its roots and branches.

No, I am not from here, 
East Tennessee, 
I am a humble scribe.

My girl Heather 
was Knoxville-born,
so I have my own little roots in

sidewalk crevices. Ivy 
climbs a swing set that we will
not take down, though she is 33!

My love is planted in Tennessee, so is
Mister Lou, Ecologist, Sound Doctor, Love
Machine. But this is a family poem,

A postcard to
green green Tennessee, to all those
who tend it.

Bring the jug! Wait! That’s water, 
right? The moon shines bright 
on water like that!

Here’s an ode to the green that
makes us yearn for home, when we 
roam Paris, or New York City.

Green, I love you green!
No, not money.
I’m a poet! I mean the sap

that shoots through the bowers,
the gardens, the men! Verde carne.
Wait! This is a family poem, right?

Yes, M’am!
A love song for East Tennessee!