Mine was a midwest home--you can keep your world.
Plain black hats rode the thoughts that made our code.
We sang hymns in the house; the roof was near God.
The light bulb that hung in the pantry made a wan light,
but we could read by it the names of preserves--
outside, the buffalo grass, and the wind in the night.
A wildcat sprang at Grandpa on the Fourth of July
when he was cutting plum bushes for fuel,
before Indians pulled the West over the edge of the sky.
To anyone who looked at us we said, "My friend";
liking the cut of a thought, we could say "Hello."
(But plain black hats rode the thoughts that made our code.)
The sun was over our town; it was like a blade.
Kicking cottonwood leaves we ran toward storms.
Wherever we looked the land would hold us up.
There was a river under First and Main;
the salt mines honeycombed farther down.
A wealth of sun and wind ever so strong
converged on that home town, long gone.
At the north edge there were the sand hills.
I used to stare for hours at prairie dogs,
which had their town, and folded their little paws
to stare beyond their fence where I was.
River rolling in secret, salt mines with care
holding your crystals and stillness, north prairie--
what kind of trip can I make, with what old friend,
ever to find a town so widely rich again?
Pioneers, for whom history was walking through dead grass,
and the main things that happened were miles and the time of day--
you bilt that town, and I have let it pass.
Little folded paws, judge me: I came away.
When we touch the rock, a little cold shiver
begins: this is the place where Coronado
found that cities of gold are dust,
that the world had led him north beyond
civilization, beyond what was good.
And right down onto this prairie grass
he fell. His helmet tumbled right here.
He smelled the earth and felt the sun
begin to be his friend: he had found
a treasure, the richest city of all.
Wheatfields frame this place today,
a gift: how the riches of Mexico,
the wandering tribes, the golden wind,
all come true for us, bowing
in reverence with Coronado.