Initiation Song from the Prairie by Roy J. Beckemeyer

Please do not expect to have to climbRoy J Beckemeyer Photo

to see more than a few hours of sun.

Exchange vertical dreams for horizontal

ones. Road cuts here have no

“Falling Rocks” signs. Forget switchbacks.

Practice right angle turns. Forget S-turns.

Forget roads that vanish anywhere

but at a point on the horizon.

Finally feel the full weight

of the sky on your shoulders.

Learn the ways of clouds and wind.

Watch for birds that sing while

hovering in air; they have learned

to make do in the absence of trees.

You will learn to make do.

You will go places where you

will be the tallest thing. Then you

will walk a while longer and the grass

will be taller than you. Watch for

the migration of combines; that is a sign

there will traffic jams at grain elevators.

Observe rivers that meander

over the flat landscape;

the people here are also prone

to meander. Learn to ski cross-country.

Learn how snow drifts. Learn how hills

are just waves of prairie.

Trade pavement and cement

for the density of tall grass roots and sod.

Find that you, too, have finally become

addicted to the vastness of prairie skies.

Come to know, in the end,

that there is no cure.

~ Roy J. Beckemeyer

Roy Beckemeyer has most recently had poems in the periodicals: Coal City Review, The Lyric, and The Journal of Kansas Civic Leadership; the anthologies: Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, and To The Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices; and the web page: 200 New Mexico Poems.



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