Category Archives: prairie

Mornings After Harvest

After months without a view because of the beautiful, tall cornfields, the distant horizon can be a mesmerizing sight, filled with the smells and sounds of a different, yet familiar, place.

Looking east from where I live, the lagging warm temperatures of day create a hazy, foggy pastoral scene,  of a morning,  across the recently harvested cornfields  and it is a blessing in magnitude hearing the geese feeding frantically and invisibly until the fog lifts.  Then when the sun begins its rise, the shadowy glimpses of distant objects on the horizon command your every instinct as you look, listen and smell the uniquely, coming day.

You are alive and you have taken the time to notice it!  Have a great day and try not to take it for granted…..look, listen and smell of it….for you are blessed to be alive!

Mornings After Harvest

Across the trampled field of corn, filled with geese in the early morn’,
  the distant horizon peeks beneath the fog
that partially hides the distant train headed north in a misty rain
  as my ears pick up the howl of a farmer’s dog
chasing geese along the fence, in and out of a fog, so dense,
  the geese themselves don’t know which way to go.
And all you hear are gaggle screams, like those heard…. in nightmarish dreams,
  as a lifting fog exposes the new day’s glow.

That’s how it is each country morn’, looking east where once was corn,
  across the fields now flattened for the plow
that soon will turn the stubble down exposing all the black and brown
  after feeding every deer and bird and cow
that lurk and wait for harvest day so they can romp and eat and play
  before the winter winds begin to blow
and life again is cold and harsh; birds all dreaming of the southern marsh,
  and the rest of us await the coming snow.

copyright 2013 t. j. gargano

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Prairie Flyer – Part VII

Prairie Flyer – Part VII

“Wreckage of a small bi-plane was discovered today
strewn ‘cross a field over Ogallala way
in what appears to be a weather-related mishap,”
the radio blared out through the static flap
making it hard to distinguish the details.

The venison stew was steaming in bowls on the bar top
as Harley reached for the crackers, that he proceeded to drop
hitting them on the cupboard door then groaning as he picked them up
as I headed toward the window to the sound of a wolf pup
but it was nothing but the billy goat sounding like one.

“Searchers at the crash site, up in Nebraska, say a yellow plane
hit a windmill, presumably in the driving snow, that came
out of nowhere to surprise everyone in the region yesterday,”
the KCMO station continued to report as Harley and I made our way
to the counter bar and the great smelling stew.

“The fatality is Catherine “Star” Lovecampe from Oswego, Ohio,”
the broadcast continued through the static as it gave her part-bio
as we both sat in silence…. listening the best we could
to the little white Philco radio that looked like it had hit the floor’s wood
many times and was just trying to hang on.

In our shock we reminisced the brief moments we shared with her
and how her ‘freshness’ illuminated the room and belied the temperature
of the outside briskness and how nice it was to see a woman flyer
light down on this little airstrip with gusto that was like a trip wire
that mesmerized the both of us in a very enchanting way.

Her brief appearance, in our lives, served notice to us both
about space and time and how important sharing is…. in the growth
of our life cycles that are different when we’re alone
and Harley set a bowl for Star on the counter, by his own,
and we talked how she would’ve loved that stew….and we felt better.

© t. j. gargano 2013

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Prairie Flyer – Part VI

Prairie Flyer – VI

By morning, Kansas’ sunflowers were barely peeking through the snow
and a hearty Kansas’ blackbird, bigger than a carrion crow,
was finding it tough to find some food….waddling close by Harley’s goat,
that Harley had let out about 4:30 ‘cause I heard him clear his throat
as he tussled with the stuck door.

“Looks like I’m here a while,” I said to Harley’s back
who nodded and smiled and took up the bacon and put it on a rack
and poured me more coffee…”Glad to have you here, Jake.
How do you want those eggs?  I’ve got some biscuits ready to bake..
Has the radio said much about the storm?”

“They say it hit from Utah to the Cumberland Plateau;
a lot of outages and people stranded, as far as they know,”
I told him as we tightened our boots, getting ready to go outside
to gas up the John Deere plow……to push some snow aside,
that is…. after eating our eggs and drinking another cup.

By late afternoon, Harley’s airstrip was done
and Sarah Jane was now ready for the gatling gun
that I would re-mount before leaving for the trip back home
in the morning if it wasn’t windy, I thought, as my comb
stung my head…. sticking in the matted hair.

The shower made me sleepy and I was afraid that if I sat,
the searing heat from the fireplace would see to it…. that….
I would fall asleep too soon and Harley would let me sleep
and his venison stew was smelling good so I got a broom to sweep
and it was then that we heard the first report.

(continued – Prairie Flyer – VII

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Prairie Flyer – Part V

Prairie Flyer – V

The two-winger glistened in the afternoon sun.
The wind made the fifty degree November day…. shun
“I know you’re experienced but the cross winds aren’t kind,”
Harley continued as we walked, “just bear that in mind
when you angle to the north.”

She shook our hands tightly and lastly came the hug
then climbed the wing swiftly to the cockpit; turned the plug.
She gave us both a smile as she pulled her goggles down
then a thumbs up and a wave…. as she brought it back around
and paused it on the dirt strip for final check.

We watched her climb to the western sky
‘til the stars on the wings disappeared to our eye
and we said a few words how it was nice that she had come
and how we all felt comfortable…and the feeling made us numb
and the silence in our walk…. we couldn’t hide.

As Kansas weather goes, Kansas weather came.
And for the evening snow that fell, it was a Montana low to blame.
That’s the best we could hear, through all the radio’s static
and the sad thing, we were use to it – it was sort of systematic –
and we talked no more of her.

(continued Prairie Flyer VI)

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Prairie Flyer – Part II

Prairie Flyer –  Part II

Then as I turned toward the counter’s bar,
the pilot started down and I noticed the star
on the scarf that the wind had placed on the wing
and getting it….the pilot was trying everything
but the wind, it seemed, was winning.

Then what I saw was hard to believe
as she stepped from the cockpit and tugged at her sleeve
taking off her cap….her hair falling down….
in long strands of blond, nearly touching the ground….
the white scarf flew wildly to her hands.

Gripped tight by pause, my eyes fixed in fear,
I awaken from my stupor from the feel of cold beer
that’s spilled on my hands as I head for my seat
at the counter in the back of the room…. where the heat
will feel good when she comes through the door.

I look towards where Harley is tending his beans,
stirring them vigorously…. some reaching his jeans….
the stove plates glowing brightly in oranges and red
as the wind wails and whistles at the smell of fresh bread
then it’s gone… the door opens….”Hi, guys.”

(to be continued….Part III)

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Prairie Flyer – Part I

Prairie Flyer – Part I

I saw it below, through the clouds, on the ground;
a speck in the dust, it was kicking around
making its way towards the hangar at the end
of the airstrip of dirt where soon I’d descend;
my trip back home…. nearly done.

I took off from Galesburg in a bright morning sun
in a brisk wind that rattled the old Gatling gun
for I’d flown out east…. to buy it for a friend
who wanted it for the museum…. and those who attend,
for an exhibit how air battles were won.

The yellow two-winger was just sitting there
as my wheels touched down in the brisk Kansas air.
It’s an obscure little stop for fuel and some rest
and not known by many….maybe a barnstormer, at best;
but I had stopped here….before.

But I didn’t know the plane sitting bright against the sky
and probably not the pilot, who I just taxied by,
as I headed for the ‘shack’ for some coffee and some fuel
and a chat with the Kansan….  Harley P.  O’Toole
and I yelled at him, “Hey, sunflower!” entering the door.

“Who’s flying the yellow bird sitting on the tarp?
I queried of Harley, who’s, when sleepy, not sharp.
But who is, I’m thinking, as I take off my coat
“Just landed,” he said, pulling hard on the rope
the Billy goat not wanting to go out.

“How you been, Jake?” he said with a hug.
“It’s been quite a spell,” as he gave me a mug….
the beer not as cold as I thought it would be
as I went to the window to see what I’d see
the pilot still sitting in his seat.

The ‘hangar’ was all ol’ Harley ever had
a one-floor oasis, a gift from his dad,
who was famous in these parts – a barnstormer’s friend,
and they all showed up to honor him….at the final end
and ever since, Harley’s picked up the beat.

Three hundred miles from Kansas City’s lights
the hangar was like home when dropping from the heights
And the stories of Harley were true…. that made his legend grow
and brought in flyers from all the states…. just like a minstrel show
but the bi-plane on the tarp, he didn’t know.

(to be continued….Part II)

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Prairie Night

As much as I love the mountains, it is the prairie where I have lived all my life.  And the prairie is full of mystique and wonder, even today with all the sprawling communities that have compromised its uniqueness.  Still, it is fun to find a quiet spot on a quiet night ‘neath a million stars and, sitting there, listen for a hoot owl, or a coyote’s call or deer side-swiping through the thicket.  Listen….

Prairie Night

A cradle moon hangs quietly, spinning moonbeams in the sky.
A field mouse sees its twinkle in an owl’s distant eye.
And a beaver in the creek and a possum in a tree,
go on with what they’re doing, made easier by the light
that comforts those sleeping in the quiet prairie night.

The hooting of a hoot owl spears the thick and silent dark,
joined in chorus, sometimes, by a dog’s faint distant bark.
A fox guards his borough from raccoon near by
skirmishing for food, their eyes shining bright,
piercing the darkness of the late prairie night.

A sudden gust of wind brings a murmur from the trees
as the darkened, shadowy sentinels are startled by the breeze.
A doe and her babies sneak quietly to the stream,
ever so cautious of what lurks in the light
sent from above to adorn the prairie night.

The sky is full of twinkling stars,
streaks of clouds are high and thin.
The moon is brightly shining but
where is the prairie wind?

The trees stand in silence.
The crickets chirp in tune.
Haze hides the horizon
as a mystical stillness looms.

Farmstead lights shine faintly
like the city lights from afar.
The prairie night is winning
but the prairie morn’s, not far.

copyright © 2011 T.J. Gargano

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