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!


22 thoughts on “Prairie Paradise

  1. oh wow..this is beautiful gay…you make me feel the motion of the grass, the wind as it just ripples on in your verse…and that last stanza is perfection…dissolved into something complete and great…love it…need to check out willa cather as well

  2. Stunning, you picked one of my heartsong books. By your brilliant end I was soaring, I can’t tell you how personally meaningful this was to me today. Thank you for your ever present artistry and grace, it’s a true gift.

  3. Gay, this is topnotch….absolutely perfect. I never would have guessed it to be an erasure poem. You used Cather’s words flawlessly to write a poem truly of your own. And what a beautiful ending.

  4. oh my gay…you rocked this…that first stanza has such amazing imagery the moving grass like seaweed…ha….seriously if you did not tell me you took this from somewhere i would not belive it…excellent closure as well…

  5. Gay, you inspire me to red grasses, galloping, running, and bold happiness. I have wondered lately… How easily can I make this a worthy experience? There is ease here. beautiful and natural.

  6. Your Erasure poem is without stitches, seams, leaps; like Mary you created something so complete, of itself, a new entity emerged poetically perfect; like just taking a block of pure prose, and simply putting in the line breaks, creating a new mantle for an old lining; terrific work.

  7. Choosing the foundation of a great erasure poem is the first step, and in this you chose amazingly well. The second is to have the eye of Gordon Lish, the unflinching editor who gave shape to Raymond Carver’s voice, and the courage to carry through the erasure. This piece touches all the bases.

  8. what a terrific response. Amazing choices here Gay. Such a quality piece you found and culled from the original, creating something unique and your own. This, I have to believe is the whole point of the Erasure movement. Thanks

  9. How did I miss this the first time around? You’ve recreated Cather’s world…a part of our country that has such a distinct beauty–the heartland for sure.I especially like how you incorporated motion! Beautiful, just beautiful.

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