Poems Inspired by the Trace

Thought I'd forward my first-ever poem, conceived for my creative
writing class through USM's Osher Life Long Learning Institute, and
coincidentally about the Trace!   Feel free to post it on your web
site.  Nate Bender 06/26/06

Drifting on the Longleaf Trace

Crisp early morning air,

capturing energy from the rising sun,

uniting his spirit and flesh.

Alone at last on his beloved bike, a Giant no less,

heading west on the Longleaf Trace.

Air made colder

by the his moving bike,

making demands on his internal thermostat.

Speeding through the green canopy of trees,

free of care or worry.

Free to let his mind drift.

Free to just be.

Noting the mile markers to Sumrall and all,

fifteen in number,

conveniently placed in linear order.

Spontaneous musings come gurgling to the surface,

where memories and questions come in no particular order,

where melodies reveal the spirit of his soul.

Soreness developing in his seat,

strained by the weight of his body,

hands  and arms feeling numb.

Time for a rest stop, quite clearly it is known.

Lying upon a wooden deck,

with feet propped upon a bench.

Soothed by the gentle breeze of the warming Spring air,

marveling at the radiance of blue skies above.

Thirty miles in all,

with ample time to be alone and drift.

Regenerated and yet so tired,

realizing he has finally come home to Mississippi,

via the Longleaf Trace.

This  poem was written by a local 60 yr. old business man from Prentiss, MS. This poem was inspired by his first bike ride down the Long Leaf Trail,  a south Mississippi rail line built more than 100 years ago to serve the fledgling timber industry, but which now offers a 41-mile asphalt trail up to 14 feet wide and built atop a portion of the old Mississippi Central Railroad extending from Prentiss to Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

A little bit of history concerning the writer of the poem.  He made a bike ride after insisting that was a waste of anyoneís time and he would never be so foolish as to take a ride down a bike trail.

He being by himself one early morning, took an old bicycle out of the garage and made several miles down the trail and upon returning wrote his reflections and feelings while sitting on the bench at the beginning of the trail.  He has no formal writing training, but this writing (published in the local newspaper) affected many people and brought back many memories of a time when life was slow and easy and people took the time to enjoy each day as it came without the stress that we sometimes face in todayís fast paced world.

His name is James (Jim) Ronald Jordan, Sr. He is a resident of Prentiss, MS and is a father, grandfather and great grandfather.

James R Jordan

In the southern piney woods, in a sleepy little place
There is a bicycle trail called the Longleaf Trace.
Itís forty-one miles from end to end
Itís just the place to ease your anxiety and make new friends.

If I could just say to every mother and father,
Dispense with your cell phones, pagers, and other little bothers
Spend the day with nature, the way is used to be;
I promise your children will have more appreciation for their land of the free.

In the beginning it seems to go down hill
A while later you will realize itís going to test your will
There are many bridges and thereís pavement all the way
If you are here for the first time, you will probably spend a long day.

The Good Lord is there everywhere you look
From the large streams to the small noisy brooks
As you look to the sky, all you can see is brown and gold
You think of the stories, that had these trees had mouths, they would have told.

There is beauty in every direction you look
Itís as if someone took the most beautiful pictures they ever saw
and cut them from a book
After a few miles youíve thought of all thatís been made by men
Then slowly, nature overwhelms you and your mind begins to realize the real beauty is within.

There is a long wood bridge with a wooden resting-place
It is just made for people who are worn out and need rest to keep up the pace
Such a place that you would definitely say was not made by human hands
Because youíve sat down in natureís auditorium and the angels are your fans.

I do not know why this place is so chosen
Itís like time settled here a long time ago and was frozen
A place where all people would have a place in time to go back
A place where they would know from this experience that this is Godís heaven on earth and thatís a fact.