Midnight Oil

“Street in Venice” by John Singer Sargent

Wish I was standing
on a street in Venice, Italy
waiting watch in empty alley
handsome dress stitched in the valley
like Tiger Lillies in little gallery
music drifts through open door
I burn and burn the midnight oil
illuminates the royal court
all is paid, no more toil
love never fades, it never spoils

story from Matthew 25:1-13

~ §tacy §weeney
published 3/31/2015

• £€gION•

 “Frieze of the Prophets” (study) by John Singer Sargent

A Parade to Psalms


Stacy Sweeney, Fort Frederica, GA

A Parade to Psalms

The King is coming
Hear the temple trumpet blow ~
Let’s go after Him

People pipe with pipes
Hear the trumpet summon sound
High on heaven’s crown

The King is coming
Hear the evening trumpet song ~
I’ve gone after Him John 12:19

The hour is at hand
Sing Hosanna, Hosanna
Going to Golgotha

His love endures forever Psalm 107:1

~ §tacy §weeney
Published on: Mar 23, 2015


JSargent Jacques Barenton
Oil on board
57.2 x 45.7 cms | 22 1/2 x 18 ins

I have this realistic fear of being kidnapped, because that’s exactly what happened to me in Statesville, NC, in 1979. My momma, Rhonda Summers, had a great ideas of a fun filled babysitting adventure. My favorite baby pen was the indoor/outdoor skate rink. Remember those flashy, white lace up skates with shocking pink wheels, front rubber brakes, and matching helmet and knee pads that scream, “Look at me, look at me?” Those were the skates I only wished to wear in my dreams of roller derby, jamming to Joan Jett’s, “I Love Rock-n-Roll, put another dime in the jukebox baby.” If my balance and coordination wiring was well insulated, don’t you know I would have a sweet pair today, rolling down the Blueridge Parkway.

Rhonda had yet another fun filled babysitting adventure carelessly planned on this Amber alert weekend. We were living with her Davy Crockett amateur boyfriend, Buddy, in Statesville, NC that year. Buddy loved me and my momma. He took us coon hunting and fishing in our bare feet. He caged chickens and a pet racoon for me to feed, caught two big snapping turtles to swim with in the deep pockets of the creek, and provided me and my first dog a rustic, hand crafted, log cabin home. He took us on frog gigging trips at night, and it was my job to blind the frogs with a flashlight. My memory is a little stunned, but I believe Buddy threw a stick of dynamite into the lake, and blasted me fast out of his aluminum fishing boat and into a private discussion of the sanity question. “This is the most primitive country I have seen, primitive in everything. The remotest hidden parts of Wisconsin are far in advance of the mountain regions of Tennessee and North Carolina. But my host speaks of the ‘old-fashioned unenlightened times,’ like a philosopher in the best light of civilization. ‘I believe in Providence,'” said he (Muir, John. pg 130.)

Buddy and Rhonda had some big plans that day that didn’t include a curious five year old. Rhonda handed me $10 over the front seat of Buddy’s Chevy Bronco, and told me to buy a drink and popcorn, and catch a matinee. The crowds were streaming out of the old downtown theater, but the box office closed up shop. The lights went out. I stood in a nearby phone booth, pretending I was talking to someone on the other line. Cars were circling by, and people were pointing at me. I needed a place to hide from the tigers and an army of men behind enemy lines. I craddled myself behind the single, free standing box office, keeping one eye in view of the road like a sniper.

“Stacy, Stacy,” called a familiar voice. Did I wish this voice into existance? It sounded like my great Aunt Dolly, but she lived in Salisbury, NC. She really was a great aunt. I spent my most cherished summers with her on High Rock Lake. She kept me well fed with watermelon, cantaloup, and cucumber-onion salad. It was here, on Holiday Drive, that I honed my hand-eye coordination, pitching heavy horseshoes and rolling 12lb bowling balls down the lane during our family’s Friday night bowling league.

“Stacy, Stacy,” the voice called again. I ignored the calls. I was not surrendering to anyone. I was holding down my fort, defending my Alamo. “What are you doing here? Where’s Rhonda?” she demanded. “I’m waiting to see a movie.” I answered. “Get in my truck, let’s go.” the fierce, red head said. “No. I don’t want to go with you. My momma’s coming back for me. I don’t want to get in trouble.” I was terrified and distrustful of my own flesh and blood. She was immovably convinced, and tossed me in the back of her red Subaru truck like a sack of third class mail.

I was being held ransom in a bar room at my maternal grandfather’s home in Statesville, NC, drinking Mountain Dew, shooting pool, and playing Patsy Cine’s 7″ vinyl, “Crazy,” on his jukebox. My grandfather’s red brick home was our homeplace. Our family would gather there, eat and drink together, play the piano, and sing together. They taught me a little song I kindly shared with my schoolmates from Wayside Elementary. Children. They tell everything they know. I wound up in the principal’s office, singing for my momma, “One, two, three. Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a donkey, stuck his finger up his but, and called it finger licking.” If my grandfather could have heard my colorful recital, he would have named me, “Sings like a Bullfrog.”

My grandfather, Robert Summers, entered the bar room to remove his hand gun from the cabinet. I looked out a night window to see my momma and Buddy in the Bronco. My grandfather, half Cherokee Indian, pointed the gun to Buddy’s white skinned, curly fro head, and threatened to shoot him if he laid one stingy finger on his grandaughter. My young, 22 year old momma made some harmful decisions. We have to live with the decisions we make. Sometimes, we die with the decisions we make.

“I believe in Providence,” said he. “Our fathers came into these valleys, got the richest of them, and skimmed off the cream of the soil. The worn-out ground won’t yield no roastin’ ears now. But the Lord foresaw this state of affairs, and prepared something else for us. And what is it? Why, He meant us to bust open these copper mines and gold mines, so that we may have money to buy the corn that we cannot raise.” A most profound observation (Muir, John. pg 130.)

~ §tacy §weeney

Muir, John. 1918. The Eight Wilderness Discovery Books. The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA


Auguste Rodin “Burghers of Calais”


Home is on my mind today
coming home is on my mind
men we can climb a high ladder
but when we come down windshield shatters
back to back stone faced and silent
been deceived and bitten by the serpent
clothed in skin and banished from the garden
goat’s blood doesn’t clean our conscience
not a word, no, not even a nod
that lets me know that we don’t know God

don’t abuse when I refuse
if in the course of using force
I should break a technicality
brings about brutality
on urben street mentality
heavy dreads
anger fed
body bled
you can tread me over
as much as you feel led
standing on my head still

all my funky feelings
funneling into Stephen
speaking to Sanhedrin
satanic in their fury
grief too intense for me
peace too far, too far to see
sticks and stones may break my bones
strangled in a choke hold
seven times, seven times
seven times seventy

short sighted mortals
He is mine, He is yours
Jesus still ours
I got visual confirmation standing in the clouds
He is the Son that belongs to man
ivory palaces and many mansions
mercy triumph
~ taken from Acts 6 & 7

~ §tacy §weeney


John Singer Sargent “Venetian Interior”

Why do students choose the nursing profession? This is a required essay question prior to admission into the baccalaureate nursing program at Carson-Newman College. In 2012, the board of trustees voted to change the private institution’s name to Carson-Newman University in an effort to increase admission rates through global influence. I am personally disappointed in the name change, because the college has a rich history in their founding documents.

Established as Mossy Creek Missionary Baptist Seminary in 1851, the school began by holding classes in a local Baptist church. In 1880, the seminary was named Carson College. For several years it existed alongside Newman College, a separate facility for the education of women, mostly white caped nurses. In 1889, the two colleges united as one of the first coeducational institutions in the South.

“Well, I’m really here to pitch for the Lady Eagles. Go big blue! Go big orange!” I smile enthusiastically during my first encounter with my nursing guidance counselor, Dr. Tippie Pollard. I maintain my focus on dinging metal bats swinging through open windows overlooking the softball diamond. “Please type a 500 word essay explaining the reasons you are choosing nursing as a career. Return the paper to my office mailbox in one week,” Tippie excuses me as she stands and turns her old, tarnished door knob.


The Hannah Pederson Nursing Building is conveniently located across from the softball field. The historical building use to be a schoolhouse for kindergartners. I really like to feel like a giant, squeezing through the narrow bathroom stalls and squatting on two foot tall stools. This will be my private place to pray when I kneel so close to the creaky hard wood floors.

As a Bonner Scholar, I volunteer ten hours a week at the local elementary school and 240 summer hours at the Samaritan House for homeless women and children and construction volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. My nursing education will lend itself to better care and understanding of childhood growth and development and how to meet the needs of the community.

I also like to draw medical illustrations. I won a 1st place ribbon for a drawing displayed at a shopping mall in Statesville, NC. I drew a nurse in the ER, strapping a screaming, combative five year old girl to a gurney. This was when I fell on a sharp rock and busted my left knee open, which required only five little stitches. During that painful emergency, I instinctively knew I wanted to be a nurse.

My softball catcher is a nursing major, and she studies a lot of thick, interesting books on our away game bus travels. I often see her in a procession of white capped ladies in freshly pressed white dresses, marching out of the skills lab where they wear masks, and resuscitate and stick dummies who don’t talk back. I think I would look cute in a white dress, buttoned around my well rounded, liberal arts education

When I was 16, I was running after a softball and collapsed in the outfield, paralyzed from the neck down. Old Doc Ellis first thought I hyperventilated and directed me to breath in and out of a paper bag. How ridiculous to re-create a scarry situation. Old Doc Ellis diagnosed me with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. I suppose I know fear, and I’m locked in constant search of a healing substance.

I like to make myself laugh by finding humor in life. They say laughter is the best medicine. My mother painted the white washed words, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” and other random scriptures on my blue bedroom chair. I’m currently taking an elective piano performance class by Dr. Milligan in the Tarr Music Center. My mother, oddly enough, gifted me with an electric organ one year, and I’m curious to see if “Mary had a Little Lamb” is still following me to school today. Dr. Milligan told me I didn’t know piano from Adam. I said, “Is Adam your son? I remember him. We took a botany class together”

Finally, I choose nursing because I like to teach, and one day, I might be chosen as the dean of nursing and coach softball here at Carson-Newman. I will fly and rest in the eagles nest when I win the “Outstanding Graduate for Nursing” award. You may go ahead and engrave “Stacy Lane, 1996,” on that prized, hallway plaque.

~ §tacy §weeney