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1.
I wish I could scan
the prairie horizon
from the driver’s seat.
It stretches past my peripheral sight
to either side of the highway line.
I’m not sure what I’d see, though,
where the farmland and the sky meet.

2.
My brother says,
“Be kind to the prairie elves.
They are not as forgiving
as their forest kin.”

3.
You know you’re in the country
when the paved road
gives way to blacktop,
the tires humming
as they release the sticky surface.

4.
Out here you can watch the horizon.
You slip into then out of
tiny farm towns
where the shops are all empty.

5.
The roads are tunnels through the corn.
All you can see of the world is corn and sky.
Or they follow subtle ridge lines,
the prairie sloping down to either side,
and all you can see is corn and sky.

An older poem that I’ve never posted,
which fits the dVerse prompt of 4/29/20: describe a place

15 thoughts on “Horizons

  1. You took me home, where the rows of crops stretch to the horizon, and you have to beware tractors and machinery on the highway at harvest time. I’m a prairie girl … big cities give me claustrophobia!

  2. …where all you can see is corn and the sky. This is just wonderful! We spend a 7 years in rural Iowa….3 of them in the first home we ever bought on 30 acres of land with outbuildings. We had a huge garden. I went outside in my underwear on hot summer days to hang our first child’s cloth diapers on clothes lines in our big back yard, ringed by old apple trees and our huge garden. I never worried I’d be seen by anyone….as the nearest house was miles away and I could see the dust kicked up on the road far away before a car even came into view. This brought back many memories. Thank you for a trip back to the cornfields and the wide open countryside!

  3. It is wheat country up here, but I’ve seen the corn field in Texas that run to the horizon. Your poem is enchanting, lyrical and informative.

  4. When driving through Indiana recalling the places I used to visit when I was young I sometimes stopped to take pictures of the fields, woods and sky. There was always enough traffic to push me along and the less traveled dirt roads were, well, dusty. Thanks for bringing back those memories. I like your brother’s observation about the prairie elves.

    • Oh, it was so strange. We were just walking along a country road, and he stopped, turned, and said that out of the clear blue. My brother, as you may have guessed, is a bit fey. I’m the earthy Greek; he got /all/ the Irish.

  5. I particularly liked the repetition in that last verse. It reminded me of driving through Australia, where the landscape can stay the same for hours. The separated stanzas were like different towns.

    • I think that’s a key feature of that landscape–we’re conditioned to expect “something different” around every corner, and to not understand a place where there are no corners, or the majesty of unending sameness.

  6. I enjoyed your snapshots of the prairie, Xan, and appreciate the downside of being the driver when you long to look around you. The line ‘where the farmland and the sky meet’ reminds me of the landscape here in Norfolk, my part of England. I love how you appealed to the senses in the lines:
    ‘You know you’re in the country
    when the paved road
    gives way to blacktop,
    the tires humming
    as they release the sticky surface’
    and
    ‘The roads are tunnels through the corn.
    All you can see of the world is corn and sky.’

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