Farm Poems: Tales from the Four Suns
In the Piedmont of Virginia, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains as they slope to the East, lies a remnant. Once known as the Free State, this land is a remnant not just of the earth as it was in an earlier time but of the earlier time itself. Some have recognized the uniqueness of this land and have been willing to stand in front of the bulldozer and the insatiable creep of the sprawl that will destroy this place. Others, notably the Mellon family and our neighbor David Collins, have been willing to use a portion of their wealth to preserve the land, to turn one threatened farm into a park, and preserve the boyhood home of our favorite son, John Marshall.
To me, this hallowed place is the most beautiful on earth. To gaze from the Ashby Gap above Paris, down the Crooked Run Valley toward Goose Creek is a spiritual experience. Big Cobbler Mountain from any angle, but especially from our Four Suns Farm, is inspiring in every season. One of our neighbors calls the sight "a free drug," and I think he is right. The Four Suns is still a place for family gatherings, weekend retreats, fishing in the pond, and enjoying the wine produced by our neighbors Jeff and Laura Louden and others throughout the region.
I hope that by reading these poems you will come to know something of the members of my family, of the crops and animals we have raised, and the wildlife that inhabit the farm. Most of all I hope you may gain some sense of this land.
Praise for Farm Poems
Vickery captures the natural beauty and history of Cobbler Mountain over years of compilation...now gathered into a keepsake publication for Cobbler Mountain lovers.
—Jeff and Laura Louden, Cobbler Mountain Cellars
About the Author
Raymond E. Vickery, Jr. has lived in Virginia almost all his life and the regions of the Commonwealth are a strong influence on his poetry. Farm Poems: Tales from the Four Suns, Vickery's second book of poetry, is centered on the family farm in the Piedmont of Virginia. His first book of poetry, The Mud of the Marsh: Wachapreague Poems, focuses on Virginia's Eastern Shore. Both books bear witness to his intense love of the land and waters of the Commonwealth, as does his career.
Vickery served three terms in the Virginia House of Delegates where he was a leading voice for land use planning and environmental preservation. His resolution was instrumental in establishing the Washington & Old Dominion Hiking and Biking Trail, and he successfully sponsored revisions of Virginia's land use planning laws to require every county, city, and town in the Commonwealth to have a comprehensive land use plan. He was an early trustee of the Virginia chapter of the Nature Conservancy.
On a national and international level, Vickery was appointed by President William J. Clinton as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development and given special responsibility for India, where he had lived as a Fulbright Scholar between his undergraduate education at Duke and law school at Harvard. Following his interest in US-India affairs, he has published the favorably acclaimed The Eagle and the Elephant: Strategic Aspects of US-India Economic Engagement (Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Johns Hopkins University Press 2011). A Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in 2008-2009, he continues to write widely on international subjects. He is Of Counsel with the law firm of Hogan Lovells and a Senior Director of Albright Stonebridge Group, an international consulting firm.
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