© Copyright
The Estate of
Marthalou Hunter
Home Furnishings,
Accessories, Design,
& Sleep Shop
P.O.Box 637
122 N. Highway B-288
Clute, Brazoria County
Texas 77531
Selected poems from Long Shadows 
and Mountain Moods by Marthalou Hunter.

Living in Atlanta for many years, Marthalou Hunter retired as a CDC microbiologist in 1986. She was born in 1914, grew up in Cullowhee, North Carolina, where her father served for 24 years (1923-1947) as the preident of Western Carolina Teacher ’s College, now Western Carolina University. During World War II she served as a WAC in England, France, and later, Germany. In retirement, she lived in the beautiful college town of Brevard, North Carolina. Marthalou Hunter died in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, May, 2006.
High-wire Walker

She shuddered, looking down
into Tallulah Gorge below the wire
strung above the rocks and tumbling waters
at least a thousand feet
where walked that very morning
the great Waleska with grace and ease —
the apparent ease of hard-wire walkers
around the world. Mother gasped and said,

“Oh, I hope his wife was not with them
to see him reach the other side!
How could she bear to watch him,
close to death as an autumn leaf
twirling on its stem?”

My sister answered,
“Why, Mother, you know how she could.
You’ve waited anxiously for Dad —
how many times? — to return from
walking his high-wire before the
legislature down in Raleigh,
presenting his requests for funds
to keep alive the college,
which was his own life’s blood.”

Fluorescent Microscopy

Through a cold dark world
the magic microscope selects the rays
from special strands of light
that fire the stains in tiny demon bodies
invisible to the naked eye —
demons that maim and suck our lives away
are spotted in the murky world
as fireflies in the evening dark.

The scientist, imbued
with challenges of the hunt
rejoices in the sighting
of the quarry.

The artist in his soul
feels the thrill of beauty —
and solemn praise
for the wonder of it all.

Halloween Poem

I never dreamed I’d ever see
A spider in a pumpkin tree.
But, then, one Halloween I did.
You know, that spider ran and hid!

I found it strange to think that she
Would ever be afraid of me,
When all these years I’ve been in fright
That I would get a spider bite.
The Owl

It was writ by Anonymous:
“The owl is symbolic
Of Learning and Wisdom.”

Owls perched on your bookself
Serve to remind you of this.

But, keep you in mind,
That learning and wisdom
Are never synonymous.

Tai Chi

When morning lights the China skies
in parks and parking lots they come,
executives and workers, men and women,
young and old blue-cotton clad almost to the last.

Like rows of willows bowing to the wind
they sway and turn in flowing circles
punctuated by martial thrusts and postures,
faces focused on the futureor the past.

Travelers to Faraway Places

These there be who
are bound by life
to travel on alone:

A cat who walks away
and doesn’t answer calls
nor yet comes back

A jaunty boatman who rows
into the morning
without a ripple left behind

A bird who begins
with a single leap
to fly a thousand miles

A dolphin who turns with glee
from its play beside the boat
back down into the sea

A suffering friend
who closes his eyes
and never breathes again.

Remembering Papua, New Guinea

Now at home remembering
years and a world away, floating at the far edge
on the jungle head-waters of the Karawari

A pattern of ever-widening circles
down the middle of the stream appears.
Dripping above the highway
of the little nameless river,
a great anhinga flies ahead from shallows,
against the sky between the trees.

We and the bird move steadily onward.
The circles grow but reach no further
than where they break on the banks on either side.
... NO, not so. They have stretched to here,
where even now I see the anhinga rise and fly,
the circles pattern the water bright with sky.

© Copyright
The Estate of
Marthalou Hunter

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