Friday, October 18, 2013

Amber Waves of Grain

Which fits, because, although it was probably supposed to be wheat in the patriotic song, this is corn, which surely qualifies as grain. Today, we drove all day across North Dakota on Highway 94, through all kinds of weather, cloudy, sunny, light rain, distant rain and always accompanied by gorgeous clouds. I took pictures from the moving car through the window and some of them came out surprisingly well. I will be looking for a book of photography of North Dakota. [Note: Just got Ghosts of North Dakota on Kindle! And found another good one to order a used copy.]

We saw mostly large fields, most of them probably agribusiness, of standing dry corn that will soon be harvested. We also saw some fields of what looked like dried-to-brown sunflowers of the kind that birdseed is made from, not the very tall ones. Perhaps those black sunflower seeds I get fot the chickadees are grown this way. There were fields and fields of them.

Today, on Facebook, two of my California poet-friends got acceptances for poems. This always reminds me that I stopped sending my poems out in 1992, when my job got so busy. I've always planned to start up again . . .  And then there are the haiku groups that I would like to participate more in.

And all day today I wanted to sketch: a row of three trees, a single tree, a barn, a belted cow; oh, a belted cow! So that's what I'm going to try now, after the poem,  in the tiny sketchbook I brought along.

Early Cutting

by Roland Flint

                    For Ed Elderman

 When they take the winter wheat at home
 all the other crops are green.
 In granaries and tight truck boxes
 farm boys are slow scoop-shovel metronomes
 singing harvest deep in the grain.

 The old men come out to watch, squat in the stubble,
 break a lump of dirt and look at it on their hands,
 and mumbling kernels of the sweet hard durum,
 they think how it survived the frozen ground
 unwinding at last to this perfect bread
 of their mouths.

Where they call it the Red River Valley of the North
 there are no mountains,
 the floor is wide as a glacial lake--Agassiz,
 the fields go steady to the horizon,
 sunflower, potato, summerfallow, corn,
 and so flat that a shallow ditch
 can make tractor drivers think of Columbus 
 and the edge.

Above  is a North Dakota poem I found using this website. I saw quite a bit of this today.The fields do go straight to the horizon! Sleep well, and write something down soon!

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