Having been born on the prairie, I’m acquainted with fields and wind…
Though I live in a city now, my eye still hungers at times for wind in a field’s grasses. I’m always happy to drive to the prairie again though when I get there, and face its miles running to the horizon, I’m ready to return to the shelter a city provides. The large city is a small fortress against the prairie’s immensity.
Anyone standing on a prairie realizes how alone she is in the universe.
Surround her with the distractions of family and house and work, she can improvise. However, that doesn’t remove the fact that in the end, each stands alone. And that can be quite beautiful and blessed, dignified, unique. As is the field tree.
In “Burning” I state how I want my body at death to both leave and stay with earth.
“...I don’t want to be burned.” Louise Glück, “Averno”
Ah, but, I want to burn, the way the field, the strong field,
the known field is burned in fall and spring in anticipation,
oh, much quicker than the slow clearing of flesh from bone.
Burned, loose from its scaffolding, flesh is a change into light,
into motes, scattering, over field, dust, catching in air, once
every winter I see this play as snow descends on a field
and its field tree, gloriosa et immaculata, and the joy
watching that change, I stand in the field by myself. At home.
You had children, I had none, I have no one to show the field,
or tell I’m sorry, or call and ask if they are lonely,
I have something to give nothing; call me a show-off, call me
willing to cut off my nose...when it comes, I’m ready to burn,
free of all boxing or packaging, it won’t last long, that heat, that
singeing intensity on the flesh and then, the vibrant exit into wind.
Sharon Chmielarz has authored several books. Her latest book of poetry is Love from the Yellowstone Trail (2013). Her work has been a finalist in the National Poetry Series and nominated often for a Pushcart Prize. She’s had three children’s picture books published. Sharon is the recipient of the 2012 Jane Kenyon Award from Water~Stone Review. She’s been featured on “American Life in Poetry” and translated into French and Polish. Her book The Other Mozart has been made into a two-part opera. Sharon lives in a northwest suburb of Minneapolis. Connect with Sharon on her website here, or find her books here.
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