My First Poem

Who I am?

The question was posed.

The answer to which I did not know.

I’m named after my Father.

Ronald Nolan Matney.

But am I the 2nd, the 5th or the 6th?

I do not know, the answer vanishes,

Into the mist.

A mist of long tales, legends and lies, where true history ultimately dies.

So began my voyage of hopeful self discovery – who knows what trails I might uncover!

But first, I must begin with me, a tale not so often saturated with glee.

I was born the oldest of seven, in the coal fields of Virginia

A place and time that wasn’t exactly heaven.

But we didn’t know, our family of nine, for we worked and we played,

And that passed the time.

And how that time passed, so quickly indeed,

Until it was time for me to succeed.

Succeed I did not, at least not initially,

For the college I was sent to was full of white privilege.

Was I privileged or not, now I still wonder,

As I think of all the things that still make me ponder.

Was I mistreated or bullied – no, but for the first time in my life, I felt the lash of abused white authority.

So I left that place, with fear in my heart, for all of those scenarios in which I had no part.

I fled back to the mountains and to what I understood.

Where we worked, played and grew our own food.

Food we did grow, along with most else, including the firewood

On our hearth’s shelf.

So began a new journey, of self reliance and doubt, wondering and fear

Of how things would turn out.

First it was junior college, base and simple, where just showing up would make you a star.

Then off to the coal mines so I could buy a car.

The car took me to Virginia Tech, a place in which I still identify,

As a piece of myself and happy times gone by.

The coal mines beckoned with their dollars and fame,

So after graduation, I returned for more of the same.

I had a sense of life flying by, and I applied to RU, just in time.

I was accepted into the Engineering Geology profession,

Where, I’m afraid, I became a part of White Oppression.

Life flew by in rapid succession, as I marched forward in rapid regression.

I grew entrenched, lonely and weak, waiting only for the end of the week.

Where I would hole up, in my lonely congo,

Drinking like a fish and playing my bongos.

Matthew McConaughey, I was not.

But I tried my best,

To portray a single man – having a funfest.

Then I met the girl

Who became my wife, and she set my life all awhirl.

Slender, courageous, blonde and with eyes so brown – she literally rocked my town.

She soon realized what was the matter with me,

That I missed, so sorely, my mountains of green.

MOVE WE MUST! She proclaimed, and so we did, with a home to attain.

A place we did find,

In Giles County.

A place where rivers are deep, and the people are kind.

Still I all was not right, as I rode my desk, always frustrated and feeling inept.

I was still so bored and frustrated with myself. Am I destined to be unhappy with work – regardless my path?

Then one day at a networking event, I found myself surrounded with kids.

I taught them what I knew

Of dirt and rocks and things that grew.

I felt so good and happy and fulfilled – A peace all though me was instilled.

So one morning, in late August as the mist rose,

Which was not surprising,

That morning, as we were having blueberry French toast – which I found quite inspiring.

I was in a foul mood,

Which was not unusual, in the mornings before work,

Although, I do love good food.

My wife, frustrated, asked me –

“What do you want to do?”

My answer was abated.

“TO TEACH, I replied,

With absolutely no other thought inside.

She smiled her smile and handed me a peach.

“Well then, dear husband, then you must teach.”

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