Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Rolling pastures spread through southern Missouri.
A person can be affected driving past the fields.

Cows huddle in small groups to gossip and moan
of exquisite boredom and of concern for calves.
Morning light falls against the contours of old hills,
casting blue shadows from several forgiven trees.

And there -- a small quiet watering pond
scouped out to catch one tree's reflections.
If you look with eyes that are quite moody,
the pool's utility turns into a vessel of lights
offered to you for nothing more than wonder.

There is more to see on the wondering drive
than rolling pastures through southern Missouri.

If you look with eyes that have cast off moods
and schemes of tomorrow or even this later day,
you might see something as vast as the hayfields --
a property owner's consciousness sown and spread.
This acreage far-fenced quivers up its ocher harvest,
as if compelled by a bass voice in an open-air opera.

This voice of implicit sounding is corded like roots
twisting through decades, wrapping 150 years.
The deed passed down from a blue-gray wartime,
heirs spreading slow consciousness fertilizing fields.
This land is theirs, by god -- the fences are strong.

These pastures are iron-clad in the grip of vast privacy --
natural law blood-engraved on a leatherskin contract.

A loose soul roaming or driving past the bounding hills
has a much different mind, one of shadows and fiddles.
He eyes the undulations of a Missouri lord's great estate
with dark glances lowering, cast below a gypsy's brow.

How is it some people are so solid in the world?

He chins his invisible violin and sparks a shadowed tune --
an unheard dirge, an adagio about his distance from titles
and estates of consciousness, about his equivocal reaping.
A weightless line of measures from this poet of floating.

And that distance is irreconcilable. He'll never be situated
or walk his land with a spiral staff of near-religious totem...
or breathe in the dank musk of a great field's aromas.

The footloose gypsy must trespass gently into visions --
a much different harvest of time that perhaps has meaning.
He weaves his impressions from seed to full bales of scything.

Copyright 2011 -- Tim Buck


  1. Just the word pastoral makes me spread out, angel my arms in fields of mustard. Such a beautiful banquet you have prepared. "look with eyes that have cast off moods and schemes of tomorrow..." That is exactly what I mean about you, the gems I now know will be there and yet excite me each time I find them.

    How is it some people are so solid in the world? I have only my experience with which to answer. Those that are close to the earth, that live low in connection to primal, ancient things that root deep. Those that dirty their nails and cake their shoes with the clay that formed the man that formed the woman. Those that labor for their own, rather than gorge from anothers effort. I never feel more grounded than I do working the farm.

    Loved all the musical references along the hillside. Do you play an instrument?

  2. Thanks! Oh, I play a bit of guitar. :)

    Sometimes, I'm not successful in achieving my aim with a poem. This poem might be one of those times. I think my lines were too indefinite to pull off my intention.

    The contrast between the "gypsy" and the estate baron is less about the latter's primal connections to soil than about his being a cipher for all who are weirdly solid (weirdly to me, anyway). Whether one has inherited deep roots or whether one has an innate talent (to be a dentist, mechanic, politician, scholar, etc.), I am struck by a similar aura of easy bearing, of situated gravitas. To be what one must be. Which makes them seem solid-in-the-world to themselves and to others. To me it is freaky, because I'm a million miles away from any sense that I'm entitled to be or that I could ever be anything.

    The farmland is an analog for a psychological field of being -- fenced in with a certainty about the ego's reality. The gypsy and his fiddle are an analog for a psychological furtiveness -- the gypsy is elusive, music is intangible. To have been clearer, I probably should have written a stanza bringing in aspects other than farming. But for me, those others of gravitas and bearing are always implicit for me when I drive through southern Missouri.

    Well...that's a lot of hot air. I probably should refrain from trying to explain or psychoanalyze my poems. :))

  3. Ha! Well I liked the connection to soil aspect. We take from poems what we wish them to say oft times. A million miles away from a sense you could ever be anything? That's a tough sell Tim, but it's not like I've never felt that kind of intangible being. And I totally get the lack of entitlement thing. What is your profession? You've got a good bit of gray matter :) I am a "bear of very little brain".

  4. I was in retail sales hell for 25 years. Then retired. But given the current economic situation -- generally and personally -- "retired" is now a euphemism for "unemployed." :)

  5. you are one of the rocks in my world. I love you. this is beautiful.