Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Jonathan Holden’

88. Western Meadowlark

for Ana

Through the open car window

seven needles in a haystack


snatched by ear out of the moving

prairie, like you

already fading, passed, gone.


If I could find it, it would be

points of sunlight glancing

off a brooch so near shades

of gold in these moving

grasses I could scarcely distinguish

it from the grasses. Like you

it is always gone.


The bird pulled it off like a string

of catches on this flying

trapeze which keeps swinging

back. If birds’ songs simply mean

I’m here! I’m here!

then why a song so baroque?

How many notes did it have?

Which notes were extra?

In the Beatles’ “Blackbird”

you again hear a meadowlark, its song

canned as the slow-motion replay

of a pass-reception on TV:

Love studied into pornography,


The bird falls off a see-saw,

hesitates, picks itself

back up on the rising board,

completes its song.

It does it again.

I prefer the song that eludes me,

this one which we are passing,

banjo music picked out

(continued, no stanza break)

through wind and distance

already falling behind

gone and not gone.

— Jonathan Holden

72. Tornado Symptoms

As you step outdoors you’ll enter a hot barn

with a moist haystack inside.

The cardinals will dart like embers, pierce

pierce your nerves with their bent sabres.

You’ll be intimate with traffic for miles around.

But if you look up where the twigs

all stiffly point, you’ll see silent

pandemonium, ugly rumors,

vagrant clouds loitering at loose ends.

It’s a schizophrenic air.

By supper the sky will be uprooted,

a garden hopelessly gone to seed.

Gray broccoli will float by disconnected

from the ground, fat sooty toadstools,

a species you’ve never seen before,

will sprout beside swollen fungi

and other gray growths, strange weeds trailing

their severed roots, flowers the color

of bad bruises just opening into blossom,

slowly moving areas of combustion.

Even cauliflower as it rolls past

will be misshapen

before the forest comes

— Jonathan Holden

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