Corn Road

Driving through the corn to our trailer
is like passing between ranks
of soldiers who tower above us,
ears hanging off their belts
like grenades, banging dangerously
against our mirrors.

Standing on the picnic table,
we listen to the stalks rub
and whisper like dresses.
The breeze makes the corn talk.

To the children of the farmer
who works our land (whose corn this is),
there is no need for comparisons: corn
to silk or soldiers. Things are
what they appear to be.

They sell vegetables at roadside:
tomatoes, peppers, beans. They sit
two to a chair, and push and argue
and laugh. They perch in the bed
of their father’s truck
(the youngest asleep in the crook
of his arm) as he
hauls feed to his heifers.
They tell of the car crash
that killed their cousin.

Things are what they appear to be:
tomatoes, heifers, absence.
There are no levels of meaning,
no symbols yet. There is only
the article itself: Josh asleep
in the crook of his father’s arm;
a road through the corn;
a dead boy’s handsome
colour cameo.

Questions and Answers

What inspired “Corn Road”?

“Corn Road” is one in a series of ‘landscape’ poems I wrote during the 1970’s and 1980’s which were most often intended to juxtapose landscapes with the people who lived in them, and by so doing suggest some characteristics of those people. The poem is set in Prince Edward County, where I once owned 36 acres of farmland.

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