Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday's Poetry: "An Ocean for Iowa"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

Today being the long-awaited and much-anticipated "Iowa Caucuses," I felt that a poem focusing on the state of Iowa might be appropriate - and there are a few scattered out along the side-roads of Internet.  The one I have chosen is a speculative piece by Minnesota poet Todd Boss which ponders what Iowa might be like if it had its own ocean - not a major one, but something on the order of the world's eighth-largest body of water - filled by the Missouri River.

Mr. Boss's poem performs a worthy overview of the state, identifying many of its distinctive features - including the caucuses.  He read the piece on National Public Radio on December 30th, 2011 - not too long before the caucuses of 2012.

Consider this a mini-vacation to the great state of Iowa, but don't bother packing swim trunks and surf boards.   At the present time the most Iowa has to offer tourists is corn stubble, coffee shops, and a plethora of haggard Presidential candidates.

An Ocean for Iowa
by Todd Boss

I don't know why. Oh, why
not, though? Don't Iowans
deserve an ocean as much as
Rhode Islanders or New
Zealanders do? We'll make it
a little one if we have to, like
the Indian. The Missouri
will fill it, and we won't
displace anyone--no farms
will be harmed in the
pouring of this ocean--
we'll simply make a little
room in Pottawattami or
Union County between
formerly neighboring towns
like Anita and Atlantic,
Manning and Manilla, or
Dunlap and Defiance.
I'm thinking mostly of
southwestern Iowa, because
then Kansans and Nebraskans
can come for an afternoon
and still get home in time
for church supper or choir.
Some farmers will become
lobstermen, and who could
blame them? Others, going down
to its shores between chores
will bring home again strings
of deliciously white-fleshed
ocean-fresh poems. And
the women, let's not forget
the women. They're going
to adore the ocean. It will
inspire them to do more
lovemaking, and if there's
anything Iowa needs, God
knows it's more lovemaking.
I want Iowan women, when
they're sick of looking at corn
on every horizon, to be able to
climb into the seats of their
husbands' stick-shift
Silverados and drive all 45
dirt miles of State Hwy 30
through Glidden, Ralston,
Scranton, Jefferson,
Grand Junction, Ogden,
and Jordan, come at last
to a dust-cloud stop there
where the cornfields end
on the bluffs overlooking
the Cape of Des Moines
or Omaha Bay, rest their
misted soft trusting
Delft eyes awhile on the
lapped whitecapped quilt-
work of the Iowan Ocean,
then go home and love their
husbands with a rocking motion.
Oh, sure, there'll be some
whose stubborn German
pride will rear at the mere
suggestion: We don't need
no stinking ocean, we're
Iowans, not Californians.
California's got an ocean,
what good's it done them?
And they'll have a point:
The ocean's largely wasted
on Californians. Also New
Yorkers and Floridians. No,
an ocean's a prize uniquely
commensurate with being
Iowan: for plying the sea
of tallgrass in glass-cabined
crafts, staring deep into green;
for a lifetime's attention
to the singularly homely
flowering and fruiting of
the lowly soybean; for
shameless ministration to
the nameless and unseen--
We hereby christen this
ocean the Iowan Ocean, 8th
biggest water mass on Earth.
May it bring joy on an order
of magnitude equivalent to
the sea of corn sweetener
her refineries pour into
the food and drink factories
of the world. May it scrub
the stench from every hog
barn; dilute the pollutants,
soften every stubbornness;
un-govern every caucus.
May a new spirit
move upon the face of the
waters and wash across the
wheat fields, filling with a
newfound joy every sower,
crop-duster, and reaper.
And may the sky, bluer
than the blue from any
prism, fill them with a truly
nondenominational new
evangelism, truer than any
truism, and worlds deeper.


Xobekim said...

Great idea, the Iowan Ocean would inundate Steve King's Congressional district.

Pa Rock's Ramble said...

Congressman King would undoubtedly "evolve" into some other type of bottom-feeder!