Friday, July 26, 2019

Poetry Friday -- What We Save

This is a repost from 2008.

My brother and I just spent three days going through the last of the boxes of Mom and Family back home in Colorado. Among other treasures, we found a stack of clippings Mom had pinned on the bulletin board in the kitchen -- pithy quotes, comics, phone numbers...and this poem, printed from the blog eleven years ago.

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This is a chant for the landscape of my growing up years -- the wide, flat, empty, semi-arid short grass prairie of eastern Colorado. The chant is comprised of images, authors, and, in italics, book titles.

The Solace of Open Places

It's Not the End of the Earth, But You Can See it From Here

High, Wide and Lonesome
unbroken sod,
O Pioneers! and
my Uncle Bob.

Great Plains: jackrabbits
antelope and Deere,
wagon ruts, meadowlarks
and tumbleweeds found here.

Kent Haruf, Hal Borland, Ian Frazier,
Gretel Ehrlich, Willa Cather, Wallace Stegner.

A Sense of Place,
Wolf WillowMy Antonia
Nothing To Do But Stay.

Lark buntings, windmills
towering thunderheads,
grasshoppers, feedlots
the family homestead.

Pioneer Women,
amber waves of grain.
Close my eyes, open a book,
can go home again.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2008

Margaret has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Reflections on the Teche.


  1. I remember reading one of Haruf's books in which he wrote something like if one can see far, the world opens to everything one wishes. My words are not as good, but your poem reminded me of all the treasures waiting in that open space. Your visit must have been a poignant time, Mary Lee. It's a lovely poem from you years ago.

  2. This poem feels like a hug. It's a poem a long to write of my own home. In many ways, I've been trying to write this poem my whole life. I love the "in other words" title. Great job of mixing sentimental memory with humor and happy go lucky tone.

  3. It must be gratifying to know you wrote something that touched your mom so deeply... a song of home as it were. Pinned to your mother's bulletin board and to her heart.

  4. So touching that you found this poem as if it was written on your mother's heart. Treasure.

  5. I love your or title: It's Not the End of the Earth, But You Can See it From Here
    There is so much love in finding this poem in your mother's collection - an affirmation of your importance to her and how she valued you.

  6. My mom had a similar bulletin board when I was growing up. I don't think it's contents has survived several moves, though. I love how you found your poem among the clippings.

  7. Your poem is a love song to place and literature.

  8. A chant is a much nicer way to name a list poem--an incantation for the conjuring of home. Lovely!

  9. Your chant rolls right off and into the next thought and line–and how grand to have found it again with this special meaning shared between you and your mom, <3

  10. Mary Lee, it seems to be the time that many of us are reminiscing as we pack away memories. Your poem chant is filled with places and people I do not know but seem so universal in the scheme of life. This is a wonderful chant that your mother found to be important. How endearing this is!

  11. I love that she saved it. <3

  12. What a comforting poem to uncover and share. It's lovely, Mary Lee.

  13. How wonderful to find your poem among the treasures! It makes me feel peaceful as it lists the precious little things that give life meaning and make a place home.


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