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Where the Hum Begins by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle

Updated: Feb 19

Volume 10 is dedicated to Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, the sixth Santa Barbara Poet Laureate, who passed away November 13, 2023. We feel incredibly fortunate that Sojourner gave us some of her poems to feature in Volume 10.





Where the Hum Begins

by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle



I am in a place

where water rolls across the stones

rippling in ranges

too high for human tones to mimic


It is a place

where mountains loom over land

so low it is almost level with the sea


In the distance

I can hear water falling fast

from a high plateau

brushing the slope of the solid earth

at sharp angles, diving

into the flow

where it falls, a continuous splash issues


It is at this place I dwell

between calm and turmoil,

between yang and yin

between memory and amnesia

between today and tomorrow

between sate and want

In the magic hour

when the tide changes

In the right moment

where each second becomes the next

in the pull of the moon

while the water ebbs and flows

In this place, I stand

on land rocky like a river

land where boulders abide

deep within the soil


It is a place of peace

even as on the billowing sea





Each of the Santa Barbara Poets Laureate has their own section in Volume 10. Sojourner's is titled "We." To purchase Volume 10, visit out bookstore or amazon. Volume 10 will be in local Santa Barbara bookstores in late February.


“Where the Hum Begins” in What Breathes Us, Gunpowder Press, 2016 © granted.


Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, Santa Barbara Poet Laureate from 2015-17, wore many different hats: author, playwright, actress, songwriter, peace activist, naturist, nature writer, environmentalist, speaker, social justice activist, teacher (she taught young children, older adults, and incarcerated adults), radio host, lawyer, mediator, and the people’s poet, to name a few. Her last book, Free at Last: a Juneteenth Poem, is a picture book about the proclamation in Galveston to end slavery, now a national holiday. Her video reciting this poem about Juneteenth has gone viral and has traversed the world through the internet.



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