My good friend whom I lived with for several years in North Carolina recently entered the following poem in a poetry contest and won a $500 prize for it:

Green Corn and Sky

In rural Minnesota,
there was little on the horizon,
except in summertie
when Green Corn was there,
growing everywhere,
360 degrees around;
so much corn you could hear
it growing, out loud.

You could hear its growing pains,
groaning under its own hugeness.
Then, sometimes, rustling lightly on the wind,
Green Corn danced up against the blue
to show its gratitude for the sun and rains.
Other times, long tongues of green were sharp
and whispering of such things
to terrify the sky.

Its insect attendants
were everywhere,
their hum and sheen
surrounding you and the corn.
Their white noise lulled you
into a trance.
You were both delighted
and without defense.

Red-coated ladybugs patrolled the corn,
black-spotted predators.
Green mantis waited and preyed on bended knees;
while yellow jackets and their kin
hungrily prowled the rows, airborne.
Green lacewings too, skimmed above,
enjoying the grace and bounty of
their tall tasseled providers.

Alive with caterpillars,
Green Corn shivered at their touch,
anticipating the opening silken sails
of the butterflies and moths,
the silvered skippers,
the orange manteled monarchs,
the black and blue female swallowtails,
and their striking black and yellow males.

Then down dedicated trails
came the droning honeybees;
the pollinators, heavy laden to the knees,
and their cousin predators, the wasps.
Loyal only to their Queen
and their endangered colonies, the bees,
with sacrifice their one design,
soared the secret corridors.

At the time of Busk,
the Green Corn Ceremony,
you fasted while the larvae fed;
worming their way inside,
conjoined with Green Corn,
eating into the heart of the corn husks
and into the heart of you.
Together, all lived and died.

Standing there,
outlined against the sky,
you ripened with the corn in summertime.
And then in winter, stark and dry,
you and the corn both died.
Yet, you marched across the white,
stalking the horizon, to put out the light.
Come spring will be the rekindling.

copyright April 2009 by Laurianne Ross

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