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Collection Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia

The Easter Onion Poem

Years gone by, still they gather
Tribute to a heritage, gloried past
Easter onions, in Appalachia called ramps
Family, friends, people from far and wide.

On Coal River, up Peachtree to Pine Knob
This time of year, everyone a memory to share
Good music, preaching, and food; thank you, Lord
The sun warming, trees making horizons green.

Blooms hanging heavy, petals fall like snow
With the spring, hope springs like flowers
Time to come together, everyone welcome
Fill your plate, come and set a spell.

A time to reminisce, spin a tall tale or two
Cars line the dusty lane, even a politician feels at home
The pungent smell gives way, heaven in the taste
In His infinite way, the Lord gave us the ramp.

A Savior risen, and so is the ramp
Food for the heart, food for the soul
Hopes renewed, yet another season
I awake each year, and spring's Easter onion.

by Johnny Russell

Johnny Russell is a coal miner from Montcoal, West Virginia. He wrote this poem in 1996.

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