Three Poems

by Dr. Leslie Harper Worthington

Wren at Three

She doesn’t know
What her heels are for.
My granddaughter learned
To walk on her toes,
Pink tutu-ed all day long.
Lovely, little Ballerina,
She’ll be a dancer soon.
Lovely, little bird,
Wren flits
Among the tall, uncut grass
But never timidly.
Sometimes a Tasmanian Devil
Comes to mind,
As I watch her from the deck.
Ferocious and strong,
She’ll be a conqueror soon,
And they’ll never see it coming
In that little bird’s song.

Appalachian Assimilationist

My blood flows like a silent river,
Through the wide Appalachians.

Here the O, and sometimes A, turns to ER and
The R turns up in the wa(r)sh where it’s not s’ppose to be,
Sounds prance round like they ain’t got no manners,
And my mother says to me,
“Don’t listen at that talk.
Yourn’s everwhat its suppose to be,”
As if it were pre-ordained.

But I am bilingual
Because I don’t walk the mountain terrain.
If I can’t play the banjo or the mouth harp as my Papaw did,
How will I ever harmonize or
Decide who I am?

Though never my home,
The mountains sing to me.
But all I know is what I can pay to see.
I walk back still pretending.
Like Boone, I search for my elbow room.

They were the backwoods Scots-Irish-Cherokee,
But I am a true-blue Urban Appalachian.


Wicker chair on a screened sun porch
Windowed panoramic view
Holidays at the lake
Red bird flitting above an empty feeder
Tall pines obstructing full view
Still water and green grass
Momma duck leading five little fluffs
Remind her of a bounty years past
Walking on the water back to younger days
Sounds of little ones splashing in the lake
“Boys come back this way.” 
Fears of sunburns and snakes
Watches herself changing wet clothes
Toweling off little bodies
She’s no longer responsible for
Yesterday they called from far away
Now just so much silence to work the day.

DR. LESLIE HARPER WORTHINTON is Dean of Academic Programs and Services at Gadsden State Community College. She has an EdS in Education Administration from Troy University and a PhD in English with a concentration in Southern Literature from Auburn University. She began teaching 31 years ago at Auburn University and has taught composition, literature, creative writing, film, and communication courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels. 
She is a recipient of a Brittain Fellowship from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Quarry Farm Fellowship from the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College. Her book Cormac McCarthy and the Ghost of Huck Finn was released in 2012 and her new book Seeking Home: Belonging and Representation in Appalachia will be published this year by the University of Tennessee Press. She has also published several scholarly journal articles and creative writings.

Dr. Worthington has three children and three granddaughters who are the inspiration for her poetry.


  1. I found Dr. Worthington's poetry engaging and compelling Wren at Three reflected that of a grandmothers love for her granddaughter with words that were both affectionate and uplifting, Appalachian Assimilationist conjured up images of FDR's America (my favorite era) and obsolescence brought back memories of another time and place, that sometimes only the poet can return there, thank you once again Dr. Worthington.


Tell us what you think.



Passionately Ran, Compassionately Fed.

Follow by Email


Belle Rêve Literary Journal is a southern literary experience. Our mission is to capture everything that makes the South and its residents unique through the best contemporary literature we can find. We publish new works weekly.