Academic journal article The Midwest Quarterly

Walking Fields at Night South of Hampton, Iowa

Academic journal article The Midwest Quarterly

Walking Fields at Night South of Hampton, Iowa

Article excerpt

   The last of the year's wheat is drought-bruised and bolted.    Hay knuckled under weeks ago.     In the ditches, the hens form rows, little campers    on the last trail home.     Above me, stars burn away the edges of quiet.    Gulls nest in grain elevators,     hollow as the sky when clouds refuse to keep    a dark horizon.     I've walked a very long time, waiting to connect    these things to my life.     Waiting to say--my heart burns in its. great quiet    or wheat bends.     in its brittle body and I bend in mine. Whatever    flattens these fields, though,     has little to do with grief or the way a heart uncoils    its veins and stems     and I can't speak for hens to say--hens think stars    are the ghosts of grain.     I say, if there never were stars I would    not miss them. 

Steve Gehrke's first collection, The Resurrection Machine, was awarded the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry and will be published by BkMk Press in 1999. He recently graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and is a recipient of a fellowship from the Stadler Semester for Younger Poets. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in South Dakota Review, Defined Providence, Chiron Review, and The Midwest Quarterly.

POETRY AND THE MIDWEST

In an essay, Robert Creely turned this question on himself: "Are those real poems or did you make them up yourself?." The implication of this question is that poetry is created by an outside force, the muse, that strange animal that poets claim sits down inside of them occasionally when they write. I tend to think of the muse as twin brothers: individual and collective unconscious, each a strange collaboration of memory, dream, experience and DNA. …

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