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By John I. Blair

When I was a child in Kansas,
From our speeding car
I could see great haystacks
Looming in the prairie dales
Where ranchers made provision
Against harsh winters;
And on their lee sides hungry cattle
Munched deep into the shaggy mounds,
Carving cozy caves from forage.

The gambreled dairy barns
In flattest central Kansas
Were always capped by haymows
Filled to bursting with ripened grass,
Which insulated them
From the chill December air
And kept the cows in milk
Until March meadows greened.

More modern Kansas farmers
Piled foursquare hay bales,
Musty building blocks,
Into agricultural mastabas,
Treasures Joseph’s pharaoh
Might have dreamed of
In the seven years of famine.

Now, in this techno-dominated time,
Blind machinery excretes
Monstrous cylinders of hay
And leaves them scattered
Like tumbled drums
From fallen temples
Of Kansas farming gods
Who are no longer honored.

©2003 John I. Blair

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