A place to come to… Experience the birthplace of one of the nation’s most prolific writers. Recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for All the King’s Men and two more for Warren’s work in poetry. In 1986, named America’s first Poet Laureate. Guthrie was Warren’s home until 1921. It is this border area of Kentucky and Tennessee – its people, history and culture – that colored much of Warren’s body of work. The writing can not be separated from the man, nor the man from the home of his youth.
Third & Cherry Streets (off Hwy 41),
near downtown Guthrie
Hours: 11:30-3:30, Tue-Sat; 2-4, Sun
(Call to arrange tours during off hours)
Golden Glade by Robert Penn Warren
Wandering, in autumn, the woods of boyhood,
Where cedars, black, thick, rode the ridge,
Heart aimless as rifle, in boy-blankness of mood,
I came where the ridge broke, and a great ledge,
Limestone, set my toe high as treetops by the dark edge.
Of a gorge, and water hid, grudging and grumbling,
And I saw, in my mind’s eye, foam white on
Wet stone, stone wet-black, white water tumbling,
And so went down, and with some fright on
Slick boulders, crossed over. The gorge-depth drew night on.
But high beyond high rock and leaf-lacing, the sky
Showed yet bright, and declivity wooed
My foot by the quickening stream, and so I
Went on, in quiet, through the beech wood:
There, in gold light, where the glade gave, it stood.
The glade was geometric, circular, gold,
No brush or weed breaking that bright gold of leaf-fall,
In the center it stood, absolute and bold
Beyond any heart-hurt, or eye’s grief-fall.
Gold-massy the beech stood in that gold light-fall.
There was no stir of air, no leaf now gold-falling,
No tooth-stitch of squirrel, or any far fox-bark,
No woodpecker coding, or late jay calling.
Silence: gray shagged, the great shagbark
Gave forth gold light. There could be no dark.
But of course dark came, and I can’t recall
What county it was, for the life of me.
Montgomery, Todd, Christian – I know them all.
Was it even Kentucky or Tennessee?
Is it merely an image that keeps haunting me?