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Book of the Mind

Text of Poem

Chilled and seared by the weather
in the country of headlines,
by violent storms in large and small places,
by cries for blood from
people in distress, I went inside
to read the pages of my mind
note the geography of a land
showing where I homesteaded a claim
and cultivated my garden.
A land imagined to support my ways
where thoughts and feelings grew on
well kept fields—I let the wilderness
thrive along the creeks, the tamed rabbit
invites the hawk, surprise a skunk
and clear your sinuses, fossils
like ghosts show faintly
a resemblance to my ancestors but
no museum shelters them here in the
lands of my creation and I remember them
only on anniversaries. I run to the
warm sunlit meadows bright with flowers
perfume of dreams, colored by
the vision of closed eyes.
The brook that runs through here sings
the notes of tune my blood remembers.
It comforts me, this place, in my crazy way
I will it to be the home I wish for.
But the growling of beasts never leaves
my ears, nor do I escape the black cave
where fangs and claws tear the flesh
of women and frighten me with my own savagery.

First Line
Chilled and seared by the weather
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Planting Red Geraniums: Discovered Poems of James Hearst. Final Thursday Press, 2017. 22.
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Permission to reproduce work from the James Hearst Papers has been granted by the Special Collections Department of the University of Iowa Libraries.

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