There

An abrupt abutment

of wide earth and broad air

is a line that draws him

without end to the boundary

of wide earth and broad air.

He plows a square on the plain

without end to the boundary:

the bent hedgepost by the sun.

He plows a square on the plain

he inherits and stares past

the bent hedgepost by the sun,

beyond the town, across the land.

He inherits and stares, past

an isolate tree and an elevator

beyond a town, across the land.

And on and along the horizon:

an isolate tree and an elevator

nothing save grain goes up.

And on and along the horizon,

the high hum from tall poles.

Nothing save grain goes up

from flat here. There is ever

the high hum from tall poles

from the coal mine to Chicago.

From flat here, there is ever

an abrupt abutment.

From the coal mine to Chicago

is a line that draws him.

This poem, from about 20 years ago, is a pantoum, a very difficult, repetitive & cyclical form of Malaysian origin. It’s an attempt to capture my youth chisel-plowing the flat, fecund fields of south central Illinois after harvest. On a clear day, I could see 7 grain elevators from my house and spent many hours in the tractor, turning up the dirt after harvest. It was my favorite job.

Published by joesmithreally

Slipped away from increasingly stressful, disordered, random, and violent urban life after 3 decades to live in peace and attempt to steward a small farm that eventually helps pay the bills.

One thought on “There

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