Minute Men and Women

by Anne Waters Green

Rebecca Gibson Starnes Recalls Her Role in Witch-Hunting

Yes, I did. Called them witches,
had a vision
neighbor lady
hurt my baby.

I accused her daughter too.
Felt such a stew
of emotions—
and wild notions.

Now regret husband paid a fine.
The fault was mine,
slandered them,
my words mayhem.


James Hollis Tells his Life Story to His Grandchildren

I was born in Wandsworth Surrey,
took a journey
as a soldier
of old King George.

After the Siege at Ninety Six,
I up and slipped
away. My fife
and I made life

among the rebels. My story:
once a Tory,
heart enshrined in


Landon Waters Remembers How His Father Died

Uncle Phil raised the regiment;
my father went
and I did too.
We never knew

what would transpire. I saw Tory
blackguards shoot my
father dead mere
minutes after

he’d made a deal to free me from
them. I was plumb
afraid I’d die.
Instead, he did.


Jeremiah Allen Works to Warm His Home 1883

The ax was great-grandfather’s tool
for stacking fuel
to warm the farm—
house, wife and bairn.

Swinging that ax he sliced his shin.
The open skin
drew dirt, bred rot.
Fierce hope could not

freeze the fatal slide toward death.
He left bereft
his wife who wept,
their babe who slept.


Aunt Shady Mourns a Lost Generation

My own brothers went off to war.
Will died in far
off Elmira,
a prisoner.

Young Landon survived Point Lookout,
wed, had two stout
sons, was lucky
he got to see

home again. So many men lost.
I felt the cost.
Both my husbands—
old widowers.

Anne Waters Green is a retired attorney and administrative judge. She lives in southwest Henderson County with her husband, Jim, who shares her passion for poetry, family history, and watching the wildlife that parades through their yard.

About Minute Men and Women—These five poems arose out of a Great Smokies class “I’ll Have Another” in which we wrote poems in series or sequences. I chose to use the 60-syllable minute form to describe events in the lives of several ancestors. I hope to expand the series and perhaps create a chapbook of family history minutes.