The Story Behind the Story: “When She Comes”

Coming 'Round the Mountain" is a derivation of an African-American "spiritual" song known as "When the Chariot Comes". There is an obvious element of suffering and hope in the song: “King Jesus, he'll be driver when she comes,When she comes . . .”   In the 1800’s it became a call and response tune with new words, used by railroad gangs [credit: Wikipedia]. I’m not the first writer to react to the sexual connotation of “when she comes” but the connection between sex and violence, usually male violence, sent me down a different path. The song we are familiar with seems coded to me, as many folk songs are – riding six white horses? It sounds to me like a storm, and Lord knows we’re overdue for a storm. The more I wrote, the madder I got until even the syntax got swallowed by the storm.


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About Lee Kisling

Lee Kisling is a recent graduate of Hamline University in St Paul, Minnesota. In December 2013, his poetry chapbook \"The Lemon Bars of Parnassus\" was published by Parallel Press in Madison, Wisconsin. He lives in snowy Hudson, Wisconsin.