Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Carnival in a Field

Harve Newlin, a friend of many years, read Carnival in a Field, then wrote to me: "This one stirred some memories. I love the feel of the sun in the spring. Growing up in Kansas, the progress of the wheat from short green grass to waving yellow in mid-June is a spectator sport for most of us. The smell of new mown hay is nose candy and I love your description of the 'hard-up hay, grown weary of waiting too long for use.' Most farmers and ranchers have those shallow mounds at the end of every season."

Carnival in a Field

Lying on my back
in a flat bed truck
this warm May morning,
I can feel the power
of the sun,
almost hear its sharp rays
slicing through my acres
of raw, green wheat...
now remembering
an early boyhood walk
east near the Susquehanna,
into the early June light.

I had stumbled half-asleep
through shallow
mounds of hard-up hay,
grown weary of waiting
too long for use.
Then, as my leg brushed
against a deserted web,
I was stung awake
by one ferocious drop
of melting dew.
I saw the foreman, Fred,
sitting quietly on a stump,
drinking coffee. As usual,
he seemed to be waiting
for his crop to ripen.

"Friend," he said,”
I feel like a monkey
holding a tin cup.
The organ grinder turns
out the music.
I just pray I get paid."

I probed his mind
for what he meant
while we watched a mile of wheat
trying to turn yellow.
Later on that day,
when we again sought
the stretch for change,
I thought I heard
somewhere amid new-gold
and swaying plumes,
a calliope playing.

Kay Weeks
1970, rev. 4.21.10
Camilla is on leave during April...


Anonymous said...

love it the second version even more but havent had time to read both to compare and know why. Most of your poetry I read more than once, read aloud, then think about it and read again. At times it comes quickly, but often I think about what I have read for a day or two before I get back to you. My immediate reaction was that I liked the revised version. I couldnt even tell you why at this point. It did seem to flow more but that could have been because that was about the fifth reading. I still find it amazing that I can enjoy reading poetry this much.

Harve Newlin

Monica said...

Wonderful Kay! I love it! I grew up one block from the Susquehanna in Endicott, NY. If we ever get a cat, that if what I want to name her :)