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Four Midwestern Poems

Updated on October 25, 2016
Gerry Short's watercolor of an Iowa barn
Gerry Short's watercolor of an Iowa barn | Source

Four Midwestern Poems

Iowa Skies

Above a green ocean of rustling corn stalks

filled with sparrows and crickets and dotted

with bunches of brown cattle near red barns,

a sunny wide sky engulfs the land.

Clumps of trees spread out into distance

where clouds, so white, touch the horizon.

Slowly the billows thicken to dark gray rain clouds

that puff and spread like giants of the earth.

Bolts and balls of lightning flash and rumble

within their black and growing anvils.

Great white sheets of hailstones pelt the ground

as corn stalks sway and bend far down.

The telephone wires hum over dusty windsept roads.

Thunder dwindles and stinging rain slacks off;

the sky clears as crows caw,

and wired fence posts glisten in a bright sun.

Hay Hauler

Standing high on a pile of hay bales

far out in the rolling prairie,

lone, sunlit man stares into space,

forgetting a while his own chore

of crunching into hay with hooks,

loading his muddy truck sky high,

to chug down a winding, dusty road

into distance under blue sky.

Prairie Shadow

Buttes, mesas, tumbleweed and space,

blue skies, strings of curving white clouds,

and cattle grazing near a sod hut

where Antonia and other Nebraskans

stand casting long and dark shadows,

watching a russet setting sun,

silhouette dry sagebrush knolls

rolling out forever into the beyond.

That Old Asian Feeling in Central Iowa

Driving north toward Ames,

we happened to espy a Hindu

temple surrounded by rows

of corn on a hot September day.

A high white tower, laced with

dancing Hindu gods, rose up

into a bright blue cloudless sky.

Not wanting to miss this chance,

we pulled into a small parking

lot amid the sound of buzzing

cicadas and entered the temple,

first removing shoes and

then walking slowly into the

great prayer room where a

shirtless monk chanted and

splashed an elephant figurine

with purifying clear cold water.

His chants echoed back and forth

within the very ornate prayer hall,

and for a moment I thought I was

back in eastern Asia, kneeling

on a tatami mat floor and smelling

rising incense created inner peace.

My family and I spent a year in Japan where we frequently "temple hopped."

These four poems go west from Iowa to Nebraska to eastern Colorado and back again..


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    • juneaukid profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Francis Fleck 

      7 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Many thanks Daena B!

    • Daena B. profile image

      Daena B. 

      7 years ago from Wenatchee, WA

      Someone reccomended I read your hub, and I can see why! Your writing is wonderful.

    • juneaukid profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Francis Fleck 

      8 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      You are welcome, Hello,hello

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank for these absolutely wonderful poems.


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