Vintage Poetry- Prairie Love Song

I admit, I first looked at these poems because of the poet’s name: Imogene De Smet. What a fabulous name! Once I read her poems, I was hooked. Enjoy!

by Imogene De Smet, Sioux City, IA

Unceasing Dakota winds pock my face
With rain dry dust.
My fingers tightly clutch the handle hoe
And arm muscles, stretched to a dull ache,
Strike relentlessly at weeds that dare to invade
The growing space of seeds
Planted to provide food for work-hungry folk.

Beyond the hill, the steady tractor chug
Reminds me that in our microcosm, macrocosm worlds
You too fight weeds amidst the dirt
Thrown up by churning wheels
To cake in rivulets of sweat
As you clear-plow the rows of burgeoning corn
Free from invading weeds.

The ten o’clock sun tells me
To put away the hoe.
I curse the weeds still standing there,
Whisper a victory mantra to the sprouting seeds,
And head for home.

The screen door slams;
You’ve come for lunch,
All grime and sweat and earthy smell–
And a sheepish smile–
For in your hand
A gathering of prairie flowers
Picked from some pasture plot
Sends their fragrance into my heart,
And my love for you blossoms anew
Regardless of the dusty, dry, Dakota winds.

by Imogene De Smet, Sioux City, IA

In my mother ‘s closet
Clothes hang
Rummage-sale style
Neglected every day.

Pant legs rumpled,
Sleeves half out,
Flat-chested, flat-rumped,
They hang scarecrow forlorne,
Waiting, begging for enfleshment.
The premature spring dress–
Donned, hastily, thankfully
One March day
When Nature tossed planets around
And Mercury shot a sixty-two–
hangs amidst woolens
Oblivious to its error–
Lost to searching hand,
rummage-sale style,
As May spins out seventies.

And woolen slacks,
Lined against winter winds,
Snuggle amidst summer gauzes
Telling of a not-so-perfect June
When temps hung down
And clouds threatened snow.
“That closet is a mess,”
Mother declares,
And sets about to neaten up,
Patting hangers straight,
Pulling half-hidden limbs
From stitched sockets,
And setting like to like.

Now, seasons march orderly
Along the clothes bar,
Best-dressed ready,
until hurried need–
Tomorrow or next week,
Leaves hangers jumbled loose,
Clothes again in disarray–
So, in my mother’s closet
Clothes hang,
Rummage-sale style,
Halfway through the day.

From Pasque Petals
Vol. 83, no. 1
Summer 2008

Featured image by the Amy Goodman under the creative commons license on Flickr.

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