Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

46. Begin Again

Go back and do it again,
my father told me.
And I would lift up my hoe,
dragging my feet through
the dusty rows
of beans and a few weeds,
to start at the first row I started an hour ago.
Lifting the hoe for the first pull,
dragging dirt around the plant,
kachunk – flicking out a weed.
The rhythm of pulling in,
the dance of flicking out.
Beginning from the right,
I would fall into the dream
See the hills, watched the horses
beginning from the right come in
and make a straight line
tied to the leather rope
strung between two trees.
The women walked behind, carrying bundles and babies
and the men stand and wait, watching each other carefully
while the children run through each other like little goats.
The soft eyes of the young women watch
the unmarried boys
begin again.
Mother said, This needs more work.
Go back and do it again.
And I would put each dish
back into the pan,
filled again,
scrubbing each dish.
The rhythm of circling in,
the dance of circling out.
Beginning from the left,
I would fall into the dream.
See the road, watch the cars
beginning from the left come in
and make a circle
headlights pointed inward
against the coming dark.
Women carry pans and dishes
to the tablecloths spread in the fields.
The men carry babies, drums and rattles.
The children who can run, charge
against each other like little bulls.
The soft eyes of the young women watch
the unmarried boys,
and begin again.
My father’s garden grows enough
for the critters, neighbors and for our family.
He said, If it doesn’t come up,
go back and plant again.
And I would find the place
where crow had danced,
where mole worked his blankness, and
the bug children had eaten
more than their share.
The rhythm of planting again,
the singing in empty places.
Beginning from the center,
I would fall into the dream
See the storm, watch the water
beginning from the center, fill the wetlands,
rush the ditches.  Bloom the flowers.
The birds fly through us,
standing on the walkways.
The water changes colors as we pass through,
while the children expand like popcorn with the beauty.
And the questions find answers.
Living we go back. Learning, we come forward.
Our return is our prayer.
We began again.
– Nancy Hubble
Nancy Hubble has been a teacher at KU as well as various alternative and public elementary schools. She has had poetry published in the Journal World, a variety of small zines and a publication by Imagination and Place,  The Wakarusa Wetlands in Word & Image. Her work includes a CD and chapbook: Dharma Dog.
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Comments on: "46. Begin Again" (5)

  1. Patricia Lyons said:

    Lovely images and thoughts. Relates to our land and culture very nicely. I love the last stanza. Nice job, Nancy! Good choice Caryn <3

  2. [...] Nancy Hubble’s amazing poem, “Begin Again,” which is also the title poem of the forthcoming anthology, Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, being [...]

  3. An incredible poem from an incredible woman. I love your Begin Again, Nancy.
    Nan Harper

  4. Thanks for this inspiring, but simple, advice to “begin again.” I love the examples, mostly small and seemingly insignificant, yet valuable life lessons taught in gentle ways. Thanks for this sensitive poem.

  5. Rick Nichols said:

    A delightful poem certainly worthy of being chosen as the title poem for the book commemorating the 150th anniversary of Kansas statehood. We got some things right here in the Sunflower State, but some things … well, it wouldn’t hurt to start over in those areas. Wish we could begin again.

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