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  • ZiN Daily

Duane L. Herrmann


Out in the country,

way, way out,

where officialdom

is far distant,

and despised,

we make our own rules

when convenient,

and no one cares.

For instance

when I want to leave

the interstate,

when my road is near,

I just drive off –

across the shoulder,

across the grass,

to frontage road –

and home!

No one objects.


Rocky prairie hillsides,

open sunlit woodlands,

and roadsides drained,

all home to

Rose Verbena in

various pinks and

lightly lavenders

with blossoms crowning

heads of stems:

bright petal rings

heralding summer

with some continuing,

so cheerful, I

don't want to mow

them down!

Sadly they

quickly wilt

when pickt.


On the prairie highway

rolling up and down

miles and miles and miles of grass

sometimes nothing else

comes to view.

A tall, red block silo

with access doors collapsed,

mile long freight train

waiting on the tracks,

or grain elevator,

remnant of a town

long since faded

into nothing.

A lake is a delight

reflecting sky

and clouds sailing

serenely by

over old stone barn.



sun beating down

sweat dripping

shirt stuck to wet skin.

Work had to be done,

berries to pick,

muscles ache,

I staggered down the row

with boxes full, but

they were not enough.

“More to do!”

Overseer mother yelled.

I wanted to die.

No breeze,

no clouds

to relieve the sun.

Day would never end –

though not yet noon.


Rectangle of cement,

some foundation line,


but love is evident:

bushes, flowers gone wild,

imported trees

and pump for water

under broken windmill,

plus a shed, leaning,

ready to collapse

as the family has

long, long ago.

Where are they now?

Married away?

Some, surely dead

in the cemetery near;

hope and money


About the Author: Duane L. Herrmann, internationally published, award-winning poet and historian, has work in print and on-line publications as Midwest Quarterly, Little Balkans Review, Flint Hills Review, Manifest West, Inscape, Gonzo Press, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, over one hundred other publications, over fifty anthologies, plus a sci fi novel. A fifth generation Kansan, with branches of his family here before the revolution, and a Native branch even longer, he writes from, these perspectives. His full-length collections of poetry include: Prairies of Possibilities, Ichnographical, Praise the King of Glory, No Known Address, Remnants of a Life, Family Plowing, and Zephyrs of the Heart. His poetry has received the Robert Hayden Poetry Fellowship, inclusion in American Poets of the 1990s, Map of Kansas Literature, Kansas Poets Trail, and others. This, despite an abusive childhood embellished by dyslexia, ADHD, cyclothymia, an anxiety disorder, a form of mutism, and now, PTSD. The father of four and grandfather of seven, he was surprised to find himself on a farm in Kansas in 1951 and is still trying to make sense of that, but has grown fond of grass waving under wind, trees, and the enchantment of moonlight.



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ISSN 2459-9379


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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