Plainsong

Joy and similar discontents
break on the all-weather radial,
on the defog rasping for a service call;

Break on the near treeless plain
stitched loose to the sky with rivets,
silos and grain bins — clouds
arc porpoise into the rise.

Joy and similar discontents
hang like flowers on bleachwood
crossed through another winter,
slumped long on green ditch weed.

See, every map of the plains be
etched by gravel side-ways and field
entries too rutted and gone — too ragged
to suit the conglomerate need, stippled

with tilt houses and stripped clapboard
banging against thistle, yarrow and
that swallowed dream in the foxgrass
— turkey buzzards spin, thermal and bald.

Crows plunge faster into red meat
than rain on the bones of whitetail,
but breach at every shade of hungry —
each bent marker tells its own tale.

Count the bullet holes and shotgun splatter
in the stops and yields when the road was empty,
when the night was dry, when callous boys
had time on their hands instead of hog blood.

Badger-eye girls all left after graduation,
for the starless haze, parades, shops
and umbrellas on the wet side
of Sunday — kept home in a handbag.

But it was never about the city,
never about the glitz and pizzazz
of everything run baffled into gridlock;
less about them thumbthick flannel boys.

Always about that low fog, them
night eyes in the beams, manure, chaff
and the split seams of the midwest furrows,
those haybales that bob like rafts over the rise.

Image: Sunset Haybales – Jason Wickens

“Plainsong” was first published here on Sept. 10, 2019. Above, is the revisited and heavily revised version of the piece.

2 thoughts on “Plainsong

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  1. The words of Plainsong are exquisite. If this is the beginning of a new era (unannounced but perhaps the suggestion is there), there should be a lot to look forward to from Devon.

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    1. Aw, thank you Peter. This piece has seen a number of rejections from the journals submitted to, but your words more than overrule such judgements. I do hope to get out into the landscape sometime soon, once this pox is at bay, once I can explore again this landscape and its people.

      D

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