This Land is My Home
This is my land, my home , Minnesota
And these are my plains from which my people came
Receiving with open hands the chill spring rains.
Here lies my past and homes of sod,
Sunk low beneath the palm of god,
And where you stand on earth and stones
Look down and know their lonely bones.
This is my country,
So much empire in the eagle’s eye,
Where a man looks over his shoulder seven generations,
And the ring- necked pheasant spins
His rainbow dance in the sweet-grass,
Where no man survives by chance.
This is the land of the pitiless axe
And basalt shouldered rivers,
Broad-backed farmers at the plow,
Big -hearted livers,
Bent to their worship
With sweat and brow.
This is a land of fond extremes
Of sea of land, ship and prow,
Where the land -farer is battered by the weather,
Where nature is most beautiful, it seems…
A place of the common man
And broken dreams;
A land of the buried child and harsh means,
Of the lonely hours of the winter wolf,
In those hours you embrace me
And you hold me from flying to the stars.
In November, 1958, geese head south.
My father’s red cap and hunter’s eye,
His stillness and quiet fire,
Teach me to wait for the prey.
I revolt at the idea of the kill and want to know
Why beauty must suffer so in its alchemy of desire,
And why he is threatened
By nature’s canticle of joy.
My home teaches me fairly in its stern sonata of seasons.
Here, weakness is the only pariah,
And a man judges himself first,
Or, judged last by nature’s fist.
Yet in the call of morning
This land is chastened by the meadowlark’s cry
And the simple sparrow singing with humility
In the eves of the northman’s heart,
Whose greatest joys are the shadows
Of spring clouds above new planted fields,
Beneath the immanent blessing of the sun.
Maplewood, Mn 2009
GOVERNOR OF THE PEARS:
SIR CHARLES BLACKLEY, STREET DANCER
I, Sir Charles, am Commander of all space and time
And singer of the blues and lover of wine.
I have no home but the street where I live ,
I am free to sing and to dance- and give,
I am the bringer of my own kind of news.
With secrets from the wispering muse-,
I sing and dance for you.
I am master of the happy jest,
And hardly need a reason ,
I’m regent of the open road
With everything in season:a
With wings upon the wispering muse-
I will sing and dance for you.
I, commander of all grace and line, do love freely-
Of my Gallo wine,
I dance for gulls and passersby,
And think my thoughts in liquid time.
I am dancer of the thoroughfare
And take a dollar anywhere ,
My feet they move the sun and moon
And I’ll be danged if I don’t sleep till noon.
My eyes they gambol with the stars
I’m governor of the pears,
Watch me now, loose your cares
As I tumble down the stairs.
With wings upon my soul
I sing and dance for you.