He still had his subway pass,
city shoes, expired employee badge,
invalid railway ticket to former places.
Too much iron in the field,
or cyanide from gold mines.
The city fool
with books and trinkets,
thought he’d escape explosions
through cows and pigs and many digs.
He dynamited the outcrops,
plowed the field,
yet weird corn
plagued him. Met the locals.
Mischievous kids staring at the fire,
mother with the welcome pie,
medallion on the mantelpiece,
kids with designs.
Trampled stalks in ancient designs
seemed the work of little minds,
the minor demons some
rural parents breed,
Maybe they thought he meddled
in buried treasure
the earnest mettle to toil,
to seed, to plant, to struggle,
to honor nature, and ancient maize.
Never majoring in archeology,
he rode the stocks,
denied his destiny:
this farm his blunder retirement,
a vision quest, but now,
by corn, with
flocks of black cacophony
cawing his ears,
lightning strikes the scarecrow.
Below the char, a stone base,
a Mother Goose book,
an amulet of Merlin, he finds,
not child’s play.
Gem seizures dance him in steps,
explosive, driven by visions:
flying bloody arms,
dove feathers scattered,
dust debris done in doom.
He prays casual quakes in angst
not release the lava of ancient
curses cast below the cinders.
A frenzied man can, more than straw,
bubble coherence of foam, oozed
below the stone with char,
entrance to caves, grave marker,
not for mere farmers.
Into tall stalking corn, he took
coded words, spells,
kicked an old soccerball
through poem-grown fields,
mocked an ancient wielded word
by plowing with a hockey stick,
looking for weapons,
supposed fiddle swords
reposed against planted wizards.
In rutty mud he grooved
inscriptions before more floods
to conjure the sorceress gone.
In faltering sun her arm lifted up,
silk to kernel, eternal mother.
Mother Goose stood in the corn field
a Statue of Liberty, commanding
“Little boy blue
come blow your oboe
the bleep’s in the meadow,
a Noah sings the blues.
“Flood the fields with whistles
my river-heart boy.
“Send the floating spirits’ keys,
the nursery stymied rhymes to me;
if you will come into my harbor,
I will lift my lamp
beside the golden time.”
—- Douglas Gilbert
(Henry Le Châtelier)
Poetry Books By Douglas Gilbert