October 25, 2010

A Poem for the Day: "Cloverton" by Me

Tonight I am featuring a poem that I recently wrote.  I just returned from a week-long trip to Nebraska visiting my daughter and her husband.  My daughter and I took the opportunity to drive a few hours over to Red Cloud, Nebraska and spend the day in Willa Cather country.  Cather is one of America's great novelists of the early 20th century, and was the second female to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1923 for her novel, One of Ours (Edith Wharton was the first in 1921).  One of the stops we made was at the tiny Cloverton Cemetery where Anna Pavelka is buried.  Just down the road from the cemetery is the old farm-house where Anna Pavelka lived and raised all of her children.  Anna was the inspiration for Cather's great character, 'Antonia Shimerda' in her wonderful novel, My Antonia.  This visit to this cemetery, and seeing Anna's grave truly inspired this humble effort of mine.  I'd love to know what you think of the poem.


In the wind, the prairie grasses—
Sweep to and fro, and time just passes.
And here, in quiet, now you sleep,
In dark prairie soil, your rest now to keep.
The wind through the trees—a song of peace,
Song of fleeting seasons, never to cease.
South, down the dusty track, a mile or more,
The house, where thirteen children you bore—
Beneath the pale blue Nebraska sky,
Where among the clouds your soul doth fly.
Fields of grain and grasses gently sway,
And song of the Lark still heard at end of day.
Faded silken flowers, that will never grow—
By the stones of Cloverton, a bit of color they show.
Beneath the pale blue Nebraska sky,
Where among the clouds your soul doth fly.

[The photograph I have included is an example of the native Nebraska  tall-grass prairie ecosystem that I took at the Nature Conservancy's Spring Creek Preserve.  This is precisely the prairie ecosystem that Willa Cather and Annie Pavelka would have known growing up in the Red Cloud area.  Unfortunately, it is an incredibly endangered ecosystem these days; there simply isn't much of this native prairie left.  Please do 'click' on the photograph for a larger view.]


  1. beautiful poem! The part about the silken flowers was very powerful. I think that's my favorite part.

  2. I love this post, Christopher. Not only does the poem bring me to this place, the photograph even adds to the imagery in my mind. I have never been to Nebraska and have never read Cather, but I can feel a bit of what she felt living there.

    Your note at the bottom about the ecosystem only adds to the bittersweet mournful quality of your poem.

    Thanks for posting this...Susan

  3. nice mix of trochaic and iambic meter. great imagery and flow. well done.

  4. I am very glad that you visited my blog. Very well analysed and well written blog, I must say.

    To top it all, to find someone who writes poetry is a double pleasure....and this is a beautiful poem so evocative of the place. Like that footnote too...

    I am a poet first and foremost. To check my poetry, simply click on my name here...