In my work for the MSU Extension Service, I’m connected with communicators all over the U.S. A friend shared this editorial about the response to the terrible wildfires that recently devastated four Western states. For background, consider the NY Times piece here. I personally know one family in Texas that has worked to collect local donations, and the husband/father has spent days away from home helping strangers rebuild fence. 4-H’ers in some places have adopted orphan calves.
These stories then reminded me of another friend who had innocently misinterpreted the social media videos showing truck after truck of donated hay as an example of “big scale farming in the U.S.” I don’t think she meant it pejoratively, but many would. And that saddens me a bit.
My intention is not to get into a debate about American farming in 2017, but to say my job allows me to I see the positive impact of a lot of hardworking people who dedicate their lives to providing the food, fiber, and fuel used around the world. I saw in this editorial an opportunity for a found poem, which is a form I’ve not tried before. I found the winnowing of words a challenging exercise!
The Math of Tragedy
by Keri Collins Lewis
A found poem
Based on an editorial:
“Outpouring of American Generosity Douses Horrifying Aftermath of Midwestern Wildfires”
By Blake Hurst, a Missouri farmer & president of the Missouri Farm Bureau
forty, fifty feet high,
80 to 90 miles an hour.
seared millions of acres across
Kansas + Oklahoma + Colorado + Texas.
Memories haunt generations.
A lifetime of work, some farmers lost
100 miles of fence [each]
replaced at a cost of $10,000 per mile.
Not covered by insurance.
Seven people killed, trapped.
One family survived:
A large wheat field,
the green wheat serving as a fire break.
They watched their ranch die.
An inferno on the plains.
A wall of flames traveling at interstate speeds.
We humans endure in the face of tragedy.
The Poetry Friday round-up is at Dori Reads. Thanks, Dori!!