It happened the Fall of 2012.
The first time I read a poem that I instantly connected with.
Heck, it was the first time I’d ever connected w/ a poem, period.
I mentioned recently, I live in the Hinterlands far from the cultural centers of today.
Just for the record, what I’m about to tell you does not change any of that. ;-)
Ann Maren-Hogan (like Grant Wood) grew up 15 miles from my place. She has done with words what Grant Wood did with paint and canvas, ie. both taking their inspiration from the rugged, earthy beauty of the Midwest.
Here is a little blurb on the back cover of her book of poems called The Farmer’s Wake :
“I can feel the grit of dust and crunch of downed cornstalks in these poems. They are not nostalgic ditties, but instead are strong songs, often in a haunting minor key, that remove me to a time when many footsteps, from many families, from many homes, sounded on the Midwestern farm scape.”
The Farmer’s Wake
It’s the third night of his wake,
all nine of his children in line to hold
the hand of the next neighbor or cousin, to hold
their shoulders, to steady themselves in this earthquake,
of letting their father slip into the barren January night.
Each farmer’s hand feels like it could be his, solid,
calloused, oversized, able. His grip steadied mourners here,
a pivotal storyteller at wakes, dredging up tales from the fields,
from the years during the war, when farm boys like him were
exempt. He could resurrect the one lying in the casket till
he was full flesh among us.
Tonight the stories are about him, his hands stroking
the backs of the work horses,
how he always cried when he spoke of his mother,
the way he sang in the stairwells, pickup trucks, booming
songs around the piano every Sunday.
The hands keep reaching out night after night of this wake
strengthening mine so I can lower him into the hillside with
Great-Grandfather from Tipperary, Grandmother from
Rosecommon, lie him down here with all
the faithful caretakers of green fields,
like fingers from this hill.
I (DM) knew Anne’s father just a little. Maybe that’s why I connect so strongly with many of her poems, although I don’t think so.
If you’d like to get a copy of Anne’s book The Farmer’s Wake, you can pick yourself up a copy here, on Amazon.
Took this picture looking at the field to the South of our home:
Corn stalk bales on a Fall evening
Tell me about a writer or poet you connect with (and why) Feel free to share a portion of their work on your comment if you want. :-)