Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Jesus Look

She was the Palmer County Green Bean Queen,
Her face on every can the trucks took out
To stores in Lincoln, Springfield, and Durban.

It was 1967,
The sky was a weird yellow,
And the grass had already given up.
Even the air had a strange ozone tang.

In '66 her mama told her,
"Take care of my beefsteaks, the cherries, and even the early girls I tried this year."
She was a woman who had always lived close to the earth,
So she knew, sure enough, when it was calling her.

Her daddy had been a wing walker between the wars.
He said, "Kissin' your mama and kissin' Heaven are just about the same fine feelin' "
But she couldn't remember
Because she had been nothing but a blue-eyed baby girl.

The Palmer County Green Bean Queen wasn't afraid that day.
Even the cattle had headed for the far corner of the pasture,
But she stood in the yard near the house
So she'd not have to carry the chairs so far.
She turned to me, beautiful as she had ever been, and said,
"Ellie, he's coming."
I tried to pull her down to the cellar,
But I knew,
From the Jesus look in her eyes,
That though she stood there still, waiting in the wind,
She was really already gone.
_______

for Magpie 91



31 comments:

Helen said...

I like 'the Jesus look in her eyes' ... sensing it ... an uncomplicated, way of exiting Earth.

(ps .. my word verification is
'mater') Appropriate as your poem made me think of my mother.

hedgewitch said...

Waiting for the twister, or jesus, a lot can go through your mind. I like the fourth stanza, and of course, the entire last stanza with its simultaneously warming and chilling ending. Nice music to go with it, too.

Tess Kincaid said...

This is my very favorite piece of yours to date...just...wow...

Scarlet said...

The song and the image and the poem make beautifully music together. Sad and magical, my friend.

Mama Zen said...

Uh-huh. I knew you'd tear this up!

Brian Miller said...

a fine bit of story telling ma'am...you capture in a few short stanzas some really nice depth to your characters...and leave us in a bit of tension...

Caty said...

very nice! now when I look at the pic, i picture a strong tornado like wind there too...

Cloudia said...

wing-walkers, every can of beans, close to the earth; I love the "stuff" you have battened on that now informs your poetry, Shay


Aloha from Honolulu

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Kay L. Davies said...

How can anything be so peaceful, and so frightening, all at once? I don't know, but you did it.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Sue said...

This is pretty chilling. And so well done.

=)

HermanTurnip said...

*Very* well done. You had me hooked on the first line and never let up. I'm lovin' your style more every day!

Sioux said...

Jeeze Louise! I'm glad I didn't do Magpie, because mine would have paled next to yours. What a wonderful piece.

Kay said...

wow!!..loved every little piece of it..x

Doctor FTSE said...

Great piece! I like the way you don't tell us exactly what she is waiting for/committed to.

Berowne said...

Very moving, evocative...

pspacer11 said...

Thankfully, I have never had that wait, but I felt it through your words and it terrified me!

R. Burnett Baker said...

Just excellent! I'm reminded of all those prophecies of last May, and then this past Oct 21st with "Rev" Camping.... Oh how we wait and glory for the end while the next days arrive right on time....

Love this!

Rick

Southwest Arkie said...

Felt like I was right there with her, watching. Love this!

Lynn said...

This is sad and beautiful.

Daryl said...

you and words = an amazing partnership

annell said...

Wow! Really nice!

Maureen said...

Great opening line and a clever take on the prompt. Enjoyed reading this!

Carrie Burtt said...

This one really caught my eye and pulled me in Shay.....you always captivate me with your words!!

Shawna said...

Wow, Shay. You blow me away every time.

"That though she stood there still, waiting in the wind,
She was really already gone."

Some do always have that look, that longing, that gypsy feel, waiting in the wind, ready to be blown away. Maybe this is about death, maybe about transport, time-travel, rebirth, renewal ... but change is definitely in the air.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh wow, kiddo. This hits me very close to home. Beautiful and brilliant. You are ASTOUNDING.

Ann Grenier said...

This is a wonderful piece Shay. Such a creative response to the picture, so many emotions expressed and felt.

Tumblewords: said...

Every line better than the previous. A wonderful, wonderful read!

Lolamouse said...

I just love your stories, Shay. The characters live on after.

Brandee Shafer said...

plumb genius

ds said...

Brilliant. Thank you.

myheartslovesongs said...

{{{speechless}}}

really, it's THAT good!