In western Kansas plesiosaur bones snake through Cretaceous chalk scattered with shark’s teeth under skies dry as drought. Pterosaurs with skulls as ornamented as Hussar helmets once flew here, the salty spray of breaking waves splashing their long beaks. Now eagles, talons extended, wings draped to catch at the scorched air, pierce clouds of dust kicked up by jackrabbits. Ocean silt and mountain rock ground to sand mix here, and the sun reflects just as brilliantly from this pale earth as from those old seas. These hills and valleys and drainage cuts look like arid, lost-water casts of waves and curls. A prairie rattler s-curves over the dusty ground, sculls along as if it could feel oceans swelling up from the past, slips unknowingly through this sea lizard’s arching skeleton, sets the bones to dreaming. For just a moment the plesiosaur is swimming again, pulsing with power, exulting in every surging thrust against the rolling waves of its undulating life, roaming once more the lost and ancient waters of Kansas.
~Roy Beckemeyer edits a scientific journal and writes poetry and finds it curious and satisfying that the two are not mutually exclusive. He is vice president of the Kansas Authors Club and a member of the Wayward Poets, a small, egalitarian group of Wichita writers who meet meet weekly to read and write out of a sense of commitment to one another, an effective antidote against writer’s block.
~February’s Guest Editor, Laura Lee Washburn, is the author of the Palanquin Prize chapbook Watching the Contortionists, and March Street Press’s This Good Warm Place, a poetry collection. She directs the creative writing program at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas. http://www.pittstate.edu/department/english/ You can find her work here https://www.facebook.com/notes/laura-lee-washburn/websites-where-my-work-appears-how-to-buy-my-book/10150158859391115
3 thoughts on “Oceans of Kansas by Roy Beckmeyer”
Interesting entry! The Hussar helmets image was unexpected…but then so is the curiosity of science and poetry when those paths cross.
Roy–I’m pleased to see this poem on the blog. I really like it.
Thanks to you both for your kind comments. Diane – will I see you at the KAC meeting in March?