Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Inland Seas

by Richard Hartwell

A vast, unbroken, even, barren horizon extends forever behind me.
I have been traveling for hours, for years, and have defeated monuments,
Problems from my past, firmly burying them in the background of my life,
Then running like hell, or at least driving extremely fast in my getaway car.
Ex-wives, ex-jobs, ex-bills, and ex-responsibilities have all been reduced,
To uniform monotony as I travel farther eastward, further backward in time.
I have crushed the newness of the Rockies and only the ancient plain and prairie,
The great American Middle, now surrounds me. The horizon line in my rear-view
Mirror lies unbroken and receding. Ahead appear occasional contours,
Undulations created by trickles and freshets, created by brooks and streams,
Whose courses will evenly wear down these slight elevations and acclivities.

This expanse has been referred to as leaves of grass, seas of grass, oceans of
Rooted grains heaving and undulating as zephyrs and storms play back and
Forth over colored surfaces. Like the Great Lakes and greater salt water oceans
Change mood and color, so these inland seas variously paint calm and anger,
Rage and rest. Great ships ply this surface too, released across but anchored
Still to set courses plotted by asphalt, concrete, oil, and rutted dirt. Only in
Seasons of plenty do the green, orange and red harvesters turn aside, allowed
Off course, trolling the shallows back and forth relentlessly, leaving the horizon
Vast again, unbroken, even, barren, extending before me -- seemingly forever.

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