Prairie Paradise

© Stephen Weaver – Prairie Sunset

The red of the grass made all the great prairie
the color of wine-stains, or of certain seaweeds
when they are first washed up.
And there was so much motion in it;
the whole country seemed, somehow, to be running.

I felt motion in the landscape; in the fresh,
easy-blowing morning wind, and in the earth itself,
as if the shaggy grass were a sort of loose hide,
and underneath it herds of wild buffalo were galloping,

I wanted to walk straight on through the red grass
and over the edge of the world, not very far away.
The light air about me told me that the world
ended here: only the ground and sun and sky

were left, and if one went a little farther there
would be only sun and sky, and one would float
off into them, like the tawny hawks which sailed
over our heads making slow shadows on the grass.

Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become
part of something entire, whether it is sun
and air, or goodness and knowledge.

At any rate, that is happiness;
to be dissolved into something complete
and great. When it comes to one,
it comes as naturally as sleep.

© Willa Sibert Cather. My Ántonia
Book I – The Shimerdas – Chapter 2

Posted for dVersePoets Pub where Anna Montgomery
challenges us to produce erasure poetry.  This derived from the brilliant Willa Cather, where every page is a poem!


Night Flight among the Pleiades

Antigone’s Vow – (c) Terry S. Amstutz

Sheet sails for rusted dreams:
Known dead walk among
cars submerged in muddy streams.
We’re lost in an unknown town;

sign clocks stopped on the banks
where old checks lie uncashed.
Vizored skulls rest in cages;
lead lined safes, their locks bashed,

stand open, boxes now empty.
Courthouse, its Greek pillars
overgrown with grey ivy–
gavels dropped, silent forever,

rooted lost causes remain.
Full moving truck sways,
cardboard boxes pave
long abandoned roadways.

Purses in the gutters
lipsticks clatter on tin cans
characters chucked in clutter;
pickups drip tears in oil pans.

Steam trains whistle fears
that haunt traveling children
bound for a land of no years,
a place called Apollonian.

As they careen the rails
they hear outlandish tales
of an outrageous place where
bears and dogs wear no fur,

cats go about on stilts.
All the window panes are cracked;
fences sunk in sand drifts
obscure any trace of tracks.

Then the earth seems draped
in tinted pastel clouds,
obscuring all hard shapes.
As faces emerge from fog,

familiar masks rearranged,
now answer to older names.
Whispers blown on an empty range
ask if things will ever be the same.

The answer’s sung in chorus
as the children harmonize:
“we’re changing places
in fearful changing times”.

I arrive in now and you’re
distant, vague, a memory.
That place, I’m almost sure
resides a blinking star away.

Title from this quote by the Greek poet Hesiod:

“And if longing seizes you for sailing the stormy seas,
when the Pleiades flee mighty Orion
and plunge into the misty deep

and all the gusty winds are raging,
then do not keep your ship on the wine-dark sea.”

© Gay Reiser Cannon * November 26, 2012* All Rights Reserved
Meant to have been written for Claudia’s Poetics on 11/17/2012
Posted for #openlinknight on 11/27/2012 “better late, etc.”

Panhandle Song

Image courtesy of SueAnn friend of Brian Miller Hosting Poetics today

Now we’re aged sail ribs and tailbones,
our sucker rods dried, split with time.
Wind whistles us drained desert stones
spinning dizzy in retooled rhymes.

Yellow shadows once slipped through grass;
lying hidden, cicada waves
told tales of days when we’d surpass
cliff high flats and the deep sky’s blades.

Curved highways led to city streets.
Fast steps formed glass and metal tunes.
Rain skies erased the sun in sheets
then rusted heart-forged clever runes.

Unique melodies milled by wind,
Half-tones decay before our end.

(c) Gay Reiser Cannon * 11/3/2012 * All Rights Reserved