Magic Hour by Frank Higgins

Snobs everywhere make fun of this landscape,

but while driving up Highway 59 I see the light.

When the light of the late day becomes magic hour

wheat fields shimmer; grain elevators glow.

Monet, Van Gogh: they’d go for this big time.

But what do Impressionistic eyes really see?


Coming into Moran there’s a sun-bleached sign by the road:


One person who saw this sign

was a basketball star for Ottawa College

who’d drive to Kansas University in Lawrence

and over one spring rape seven women,

all as beautiful as Miss America.

He drove this road, at this time, in this light.


Did his imagination do anything with this landscape?

Why couldn’t beauty better him?

Touch him? Uplift him? Stop him?

Or did beauty drive him to grab hold of it before –

like the light of magic hour – it faded?

I drive to Lawrence in heavenly light and wonder

if something like him is part of every landscape.

Frank Higgins is both a playwright and poet. His play Black Pearl Sings has been one of the most produced in the country over the last few years. His books of poetry include Starting From Ellis Island, Bkmk Press. He teaches playwriting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Maril Crabtree spent her childhood in Memphis and grew up in New Orleans, but married a Kansas boy five decades ago and considers herself a full-bred Kansan by now. She writes poetry and creative nonfiction and her poems have appeared in I-70 Review, DMQ Review, Spank the Carp, and others. Her latest chapbook is Tying the Light (2014); some of her poems can be seen at


3 thoughts on “Magic Hour by Frank Higgins

  1. Even though we live in Wichita, we are only a few blocks from the grain elevators at the Cargill Plant. They’re beautiful in the morning sun. Driving through the Flint Hills on the turnpike is a drive through paradise. You’re captured the scene well, and the addition of the football player’s crime is apt.

    Diane Wahto

  2. I especially like your first stanza. It is beautiful. Your question is important. I didn’t want to see the football player but isn’t that true that we don’t want to see evil? I guess that we have too, though, in order to understand evil in order to protect ourselves and those we love from it. As I thought about it maybe this evil man wasn’t able to see the true beauty of the landscape which one would imagine might bring out his best side. Or maybe he was unable to” connect” with beauty in a beautiful way? So hard to know. Also, coming from New York, it saddens me that there is a snobbishness, at times, about the Mid-West that is so unfair. Still, it does exist.

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