He started with the tune his mother had hummed
in Ohio, nostalgia he’ d carried for years,
and by Sunday afternoon he had the words.
A triumph, already; he whistled the banjo’ s part.
(Himself a sympathizer from the North,
called copperhead, called traitor by his own kin.)
Something lively, some git-up-and-git they’ d wanted
and didn’ t he deliver —
Miss Susan got seven encores the first night.
That gave them their tune, their Negro walk-around —
Look away, look away, look away, they sang.
Vipers, that spring, spread thick on the ground.