:::this is the way the world ends:::

Poetry Post: Burning Stubble

It’s been some time since the last poetry post. In the spirit of Ned sharing his excellent paintings, I thought I would share a recent poem of mine.


There are many ways to become
unexceptional. A field

a field a field a road a field a field
on fire. And you in a car

sightseeing where once you lived,
someone’s idea of hell, but isn’t

everywhere someone’s idea of hell,
also as the earth is

the kingdom of God. So Jesus says
in books they banished from

the bible. Because if this were heaven,
would the men come to

march a line of fire through it, across
the fields where you are still

the child who stood those men bringing
the flames close so you could

see the mice running out of them?
Then your father watching

closed his hand on you and said
They won’t burn our house

down. In the morning, the house was
white with blown ash,

in a circle outside of which everything
was black, brought down

and still smoldering. You were untouched,
and it must have been then,

careful not to step beyond the unfired
earth, that you decided

you would live your life this way.


  1. J.E.

    Thanks so much Shotts. This is great.

    After reading this I recalled a day when I was probably about six, riding in the tractor with Grandpa, plowing. Grandpa stopped the tractor, got out and came back with a little handful of baby mice. I was more frightened than anything which, in retrospect, probably disappointed Grandpa. I still sort of regret it.

    Suffice to say, a wheat field is a dangerous place for a mouse to raise a family and this fact is not lost on many little Kansas boys.

    Keep the poems coming! I can’t wait to have my studio back together so that I have something to share too. I guess until then I’ll have to live vicariously through the creative lives of others.

  2. Ned

    I’m so happy to see this. I know how critical your mind is and that makes your sharing all the more an honor. I read the poem twice through and will come back again. Initially, I really like the sightseeing where once you lived and the everywhere being someone’s idea of hell. They cast things I know in a different light. I would love to read more. Thanks.

  3. Shotts

    Thank you for the positive comments. Certainly appreciated.

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