BOONE, N.C. — When award-winning poet, Appalachian State University professor and advocate for literacy Joseph Bathanti was named North Carolina's poet laureate in October 2012, he announced plans to work with veterans to share their stories through poetry.
To celebrate Veterans Day, Bathanti has written a special poem for veterans, families of veterans and for everyone who honors America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
"North Carolina, arguably the heart of the U.S. military establishment, is overflowing with unforgettable stories of veterans and their families, and across the state there are various initiatives, as well as writers and countless others, dedicated to bringing these accounts to the surface," Bathanti said.
"As Poet Laureate, I find myself suddenly in a position to make something very meaningful happen in North Carolina by serving as a lightning rod to publicize these programs, create a consortium of thought and action among them, and help create a sustainable collaborative model for teaching writing workshops for vets that can be duplicated and delivered anywhere in the state."
Saint Francis's Satyr Butterfly
All creatures have the same source as we have.
Saint Francis of Assisi
A reclusive small brown butterfly,
white and yellow stigmatic suns
deployed along its wing ridges,
Saint Francis's Satyr - christened
after the 12th century Italian soldier
and POW turned mystic -
secretes itself, miraculously,
in 10 by 10 kilometers
of the 251 square mile brash
of Fort Bragg - exact coordinates classified -
beyond which - we know this much -
it has gone undetected. Shy, endangered,
preferring anonymity, it hides
in high artillery impact domains -
life often chooses death -
the fires triggered by bombardment.
It wears Marsh camouflage,
resembles in its favored habitat -
blasted sedge and beaver ruins -
a tiny standard issue
Advanced Combat Helmet.
Parsed from the chrysalis,
rent too soon from its dream of living,
the satyr blazes in desperate glory
but three or four days,
in its imaginal stage,
then tenders its life in writ sacrifice.
Its gorgeous numbers dwindle.
The caterpillar has never been seen.
We accept, on faith, metamorphosis.
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About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.