[“Vachel Lindsay Walks the Roads of Kansas” appeared originally in ArLiJo #89.  For a recording of the poem, click here.]

Vachel Lindsay Walks the Roads of Kansas Offering Poems for Bread


Oh, Vachel, you have walked all day—
the fields of corn abuzz with cicada dust
as the sun walks its different pace,
not hand in hand with you, but nodding
perhaps as it passes on.

And yes, you are
thinking of such things because you
are a poet, and you are walking
to bring that light into these fields
and the far scattered houses
where the far scattered men and women
tend what often feels like a burden—

the ache between the shoulders
from holding to the plow, the ache
in the small of the back bending
to the weeds in the kitchen garden.

Ah, Vachel, your feet are tired and even,
sometimes, your heart.
And sometimes the cicada dust
is only noise and not an aura,
golden above the tassels awaiting harvest
as the west opens its door to its visitor,
the stranger always welcomed, a place set
at the table—

as tonight someone
will open the door to you, a stranger,
and you will glow with poetry,
savoring the bread as if it, too,
is a poem, their poem
shared for yours, yours for theirs,
spirit unto spirit within the spirit.

And tomorrow you will walk again,
the light and dark within you,
holding to the hope like a plow
and the road an endless furrow,

and then another night of the puzzled
farm people listening before you
will let them sit down and eat with you,
sharing their poem, the one
they understand.

The one they
do not think of as a poem.