hour 21 a view from my childhood

this is the view from the roots of tall grasses

or grains grown in rich, black prairie soils

feeding the grasshoppers and me

for eons


i’d feel my back heat up from the sunbaked earth

looking up at the sky through the wisps of barley beards

or fox tails

waving to the swallows

from below.


it’s the times I knew who my Mother was

holding me in certainty

that I would return again

to this humble position,

staring up at the heads of wheat stocks

when there was nothing left of me but dust.

r. l. elke

6 thoughts on “hour 21 a view from my childhood

  1. I love how this poem builds into that final, powerful, and heart-filling stanza.

    (not that it isn’t heart breaking also – My world is 100% better with you in it, but I feel that way a lot in the wheat or the trees, that I will be dust and part of this much larger – meaningful cycle, and I understood the meaning there, I think of this larger connection to nature – the humbling by it/with it).

    1. thank you so much. there is such comfort in the feel of the earth at our back – paralleling our mortality, making living so much sweeter. it’s so funny how kids feel this tension all of the time and are not afraid. they just know spirit lives all around and liminality is to be walked with, not hidden from.

  2. Man, I love this. ‘The roots of the tall grasses/or grains’ resonates with me as someone who lived on the praise for a time. Those are very distinct kinds of plants/planting and the differentiation really struck me. It is a juxtaposition of sorts, but prairie folks would see it very uniquely.

    With that, I wonder if you have ever read anything by BIll Holm? He was a prairie poet your work reminds me of at times.

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