Title: Saluda Reflections
Author: Arthur Turfa
About The Author
Although Arthur Turfa has travelled to many places, his writings contain images of Western Pennsylvania and the people he knew growing up. Perhaps that explains his interest in languages, people, and various places.
He has lived elsewhere in Pennsylvania, as well as California, Virginia, New Mexico, Germany, and now South Carolina. Each of these, as well as from his travels, has influenced his poetry.
Through his careers as pastor, educator, and Army chaplain, he has come into contact with people from nearly every walk of life.
In 2015 his first book of poetry, Places and Times, came out from eLectio Publishing. Turfa has also been published in print and 0n-line journals nationally and internationally. He has retired from some things, but not all. Currently the Midlands of South Carolina are home to him and his family.
Saluda Reflections is a book of poetry that covers the scope of the poet’s career and some deal with earlier events and themes. A few of them deal with some contemporary issues. All of them found expression in the woods of Saluda County, South Carolina.
Saluda Reflections, as the name suggests, is a book of poetry that has been written in the woods of Saluda County, South Carolina. It takes us on a poetic journey into Saluda as the place comes alive under the pen of Arthur Turfa. The poems paint beautiful word pictures of not only the physical features but also of the times, taking the readers into beautiful woods, faded old towns, mountains, bridges and the minds of the people as the various events unfold.
The book opens with “Giles County Sonnets” that bring alive the scenery right from the first line
Westward flows second-oldest river,
meandering among forests, mountains
and several scattered communities
“Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania” is a beautiful depiction of a fading coal town and how it touches the lives of those who came to work here.
Another poem I enjoyed reading was “Reflection on Musgrove Mill and Today” with its battles in green meadows moving into cyberspace and chatrooms.
“The Twelve Bridges Road” is my favourite, because of the beautiful metaphors and symbols used by the poet.
At some point you must realize
the road only goes so far.
Eventually you sense that
there are other roads to travel
and that you will never
resolve the enigma.
Many beautifully expressive lines can be found throughout the book. Some of them are-
Her long auburn hair wafted
in the Santa Ana winds
as we walked the neighbourhood (from The Woman Who Knew Aldous Huxley)
an orange smog rolled in, just as toxic,
but slower-acting. Millionaire Messiah
promising flourishing mines and mills to
those who remained amid faded glories; (from Poisonous Fumes over Donora)
Before e’en’s last dark hour goes by.
Softly, my sweet, take I my leave of thee.
Like the wild geese now away I must fly. (from E’en’s Last Dark Hour)
The poetry doesn’t have much rhyme, as we traditionally might expect, but that is more than adequately made up by the story like quality of the book, that takes us step by step through the evolving landscape and society. The poet’s voice is gentle and soothing, and the tone is maintained throughout the book. Though at times, one might wish for a stronger poem, it is to be remembered that this is a book of reflections, and probably, the poet wants us to ponder along rather than react to things.
If you are too far away to visit the Saluda county, I suggest that you take this journey with Arthur Turfa, step back into the recent past and enjoy the beauty this place has to offer for the eye and the soul.
Saluda – with my being a railfan who grew up in the US southeast the first that word connects with for me is; “Saluda Grade
From an engineering and railroading perspective the Southern Railway’s Saluda Grade was one of the scariest and most daunting sections of main line anywhere in the country. The line was originally constructed in the 1870s to connect Spartanburg, South Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina through the Blue Ridge Mountain range but with no suitable grade available in southern North Carolina engineers were forced to lay a grade between 4% and 5%! Unable to ever find a better grade in later years the line remained in operation until late 2001 as the steepest main line railroad anywhere in the United States. Today, Norfolk Southern has finally given up on the route and while officially mothballed (i.e., not abandoned) it likely will never see freight trains again.”
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Thanks so very much, Manic Sylph for the perceptive review. You certainly understand what was in my mind.
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Thank you for that Arthur! It was a pleasure reading your poetry. The very best to you always…