Monday, May 15, 2017

An Iowa Night


Time flies.

It seems such a short time ago that I was there in Iowa, participating in that study ... but it was actually many years ago ...

We had come from all parts of the country that summer, people from various professions, gathering at the University of Iowa for an intensive study of biography.

I was one of the participants in that National Endowment for the Humanities seminar. I had looked forward to it as a means of escaping, if only briefly, a work situation with constantly demanding deadlines.

What could be better than to get far, far away from that, to focus on something entirely different?

Deadlines? Oh, we had those in the seminar ... every day. We had a mountain of reading material to cover, to digest, to discuss. It was definitely not playtime.

But it was valuable ... when I returned to work, and all these years later. It helped to steer me in the direction of more writing and, eventually, into what I'm still doing today, exploring the avenues of poetry and a bit of art.

Today's poem recalls one particular evening when we were invited out to the rural home of our seminar moderator.

I recall our standing on the porch ... but let's let the poem tell it:


Day's work done, we
gathered on a farm porch,
watching the lush, dark
corn trembling toward us
as rain slid
through the dusk.

No towering buildings
muffled the crumpling
thunder, no traffic
softened the sound
of plump drops spattering
thirsting shingles.

It was the velvet edge
of an Iowa night.

I have bridged back
to it many times, seeking
those faces, wondering
what happened next,
what the others became,
where they are now.
© 1997

(originally published in Midwest Poetry Review; also included in my first collection of poems, Chance of Rain, published by Finishing Line Press in 2003)

Today's word: wondering

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