Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Anne Baber’

68. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Anne Baber

If I fail to find,
in this brambly tangled place,
any metaphors,
it’s my fault. The roads run straight,
stitch pastures into patchwork.

Henbit stains those fields
purple. If tiny blooms join
forces, why not we?
Later as the barn crumples,
asters still stand by the fence.

– Anne Baber

68. Bestiary: Henbit

(Lamium Amplexicaule)

 

Many are there over mid-earth,

the lowly henbit. Lamented

as weed. Nicknamed “giraffe-

head” for its haughty, mottled,

orchid-flower and tuft of fuchsia

fuzz. Lauded as wildflower. Its ruffled

leaf an Elizabethan ruche

around the square empurpled stem.

When in April it comes again,

spring’s wakening it leads.

Not much alone, but abloom

across a furrowed field it spreads

a gaudy undulating stain

and shouts the end of winter’s gloom.

So too, do we, united and in flower,

take back our country and our power.

– Anne Baber

(Published in Endless, Anne Baber, Finishing Line Press)

Anne Baber’s poetry has appeared in Kansas City Voices and on a Grammy-nominated CD and been recognized by The Ontario Poetry Society, The Writer’s Digest November 2009 Poem-A-Day Challenge, and The Saturday Writers Guild. Her first Chapbook, Endless, is being published by Finishing Line Press in 2011.

20. Fenceposts

At the southwest corner of the crossing

of two roads in Douglas County, Kansas,

are fields a man staked out with fenceposts

cut from Osage orange, strung with barbed wire.

Did he feel imprisoned by the stark sticks?

Was he sick of doing what they all did?

For some reason, he decided that his fenceposts

should be topped off, crowned with grey rocks.

Was it whimsy or despair that spurred this fancy?

Maybe just a field too full of boulders.

Did the man who would make his mark with fenceposts

fling his ax down, curse the dead wood?

I can see him, straining at his labor

as he harvests, heaves up every capstone,

wires some, as wind howls toward his fenceposts,

thwarts its raging wrath, its lust for emptiness.

Once, my husband, who likes explanations,

said those rocks were set to cover crosscut –

smart thing to do with wooden fenceposts –

if they soak, they rot in spring rain.

Every time I pass, I slow to look again there,

and again try to understand their meaning

for the man known hereabouts for fenceposts

hewn from trunk or limb, stuck in black earth.

Once, I’d visited my father, who lay dying.

All the light he was blazed red behind me,

as I crested the hill beside the fenceposts,

lit the dull rocks, torched them as the sun set.

And I knew the man who put those rocks there

meant them to burn like flames on candles,

unsnuffed by snow, unextinguished by rain,

mutely illuminating, shining through dark night.

– Anne Baber

(Published in Endless, Anne Baber, Finishing Line Press)

Anne Baber’s poetry has appeared in Kansas City Voices and on a Grammy-nominated CD and been recognized by The Ontario Poetry Society, The Writer’s Digest November 2009 Poem-A-Day Challenge, and The Saturday Writers Guild. Her first Chapbook, Endless, is being published by Finishing Line Press in 2011.

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