Katherine was the first person from Write by the Rails that I met in the three-D world.The writers’ group formed in August, 2011, and while I had friended a number of people in the group, I had not met them in person, so, in December, after a choir rehearsal for Christmas music, I took myself over to Mayfield Middle School in Manassas, where a couple of authors were having a book signing. Katherine was there along with local author Nancy Kyme. I spent some time talking with them, and Cindy Brookshire, one of the founders of WBTR, came along. I was impressed with these local writers. Since then, I’ve come to know Katherine as a compassionate, talented lady who writes using a number of different genres in a range of styles. But I’ll let her tell you more in her own words. Katherine Gotthardt:
I am honored to be part of this blog tour and thrilled that Dan’s blog is my first stop! I know Dan through Write by the Rails and have become familiar with his exceptional non-fiction and fiction because of our mutual affiliation. Here’s to Dan and Write by the Rails!
While I am at it, I would like to thank Write by the Rails members Stacia and Nick Kelly for arranging the tour. What a great idea.
As for me, I’m a poetry, fiction and prose writer. Poems from the Battlefield, a collection of my Civil War themed poetry, original and archival photos and period quotes, was published in 2009. My children’s book, Furbily-Furld Takes on the World, was published in 2010. Approaching Felonias Park, a novel focusing on predatory lending, was released in November, 2011. Weaker Than Water, a second collection poetry, came out in April, 2013.
All that out of the way, I humbly submit one of my older poems. This poem was drafted in the mid 1990’s when I was still an undergrad. I recently rescued it from a stack of paper containing poems that never made it to my PC. They were written on a Mac Classic, which passed away shortly after I graduated. I hope to get all those poems typed up some day and maybe even use a few in the book I plan to release later this year.
Oh. Did I spoil that surprise? I guess I have to really do it now that I’ve made it public. That’s what happens when you put things in writing. You must take responsibility for your words, one way or another.
Without further delay, then, prepare for an old poem. I hope you enjoy it.
That day in winter when you and I declined
to work an average day, instead deciding
to traipse across the field of fallen snow beside
my house, that day when we inoculated
the earth with our high booted prints,
we kicked through grains of ice, feeling
the stiff water resist our toes,
then sink to softer snow beneath.
Holding hands, we ran from tree to tree,
listening to the muted sound of feet breaking through surface:
crunch-squish, crunch-squish, crunch-squish.
We reached the broken-down wall that used to mark the line between
my neighbor’s house and mine. Resting here,
we watched the defeated barrier that stretched from where
we stood to as far as we could see. Here and there,
a round or jagged rock poked its ancient head from beneath
its snowy sheath, as if looking in wonder at its brothers still seated
atop each other. White beards grew from the hardened heap,
and antlers made of ice.
We cleared a spot and sat atop, holding some cold
between our wet, raw fingers. We felt for gaps hiding
among the stones and pulled from the crevices their winter teeth,
laughing quietly at the freeze boring its ends
into our steaming palms.
We never regretted forfeiting that day’s pay, sparing
some time to revel in God’s sublime. We were as children,
still amazed how quickly icicles melt.