Indiana’s Bicentennial is in 2016. On March 23, I submitted a poem for a Bicentennial book featuring poets from each country. I entered through Whitley County, where I grew up, as the subject was about my roots there.
I was not chosen for the collection (nor was Whitley County) or goblins ate my poem. This poem needs to be read, and read aloud. I hope you appreciate it, whether you are a Hoosier or not. Happy 200th anniversary, Indiana.
Off Keiser Road
Shy of the surface, yellow and blue wildflowers rest
Soon coaxed upward by the diffuse April sun.
Washington township farmers overturn the dark, bountiful Indiana soil
And renew the cycle of planting and harvest
As my ancestors long ago worked their field of dreams.
My arms filled with red roses, I visit old friends.
I share the first bud with Suzi who danced at my wedding
Her hair as red as the roses and her laughter filling the room.
I am surprised to find Pastor here.
He married us three decades ago at the country church over the hill.
Spires from St. John’s and Eberhard churches rise over country fields
With bells signaling new life for nearly two centuries.
Our dear neighbors Kirby and Neva are here, reminding me of Kirby’s wood shop,
Endless entertainment for nosy children from next door.
If it takes a village to raise a child, my village is here off Keiser Road.
Bea and Phil, and Doris and Kenny, and Scotty, Chris, Willis,
and dear, beautiful Julia, gone too soon,
together now in the springtime of this peaceful place
rooted in the rich earth and promise of Whitley County.
Their voices echo in my mind, recollections ebbing and flowing with the seasons,
Whispers in my memory, laughter and tears, ice cream socials and women’s club,
Vacation Bible School and confirmation class, beginnings and endings.
Truly only memories endure here.
The stone is rolled away; what remains is temporal and fleeting.
In the autumn, the fields beside this place lay fallow,
Awaiting the hope and resurrection the abundant earth promises.