One of the things that delighted me as I researched Midwest Maize was discovering how much literature, especially poetry, celebrates corn, the people who grew it, and the lands where it grew. Of course, I knew about the Carl Sandburg collection, Cornhuskers. But there were so many more wonderful poems written to the grain that built the Heartland. I start each chapter in the book with a book excerpt, quote, or poem about corn, but there were far too many to put them all in the book. So I thought I’d share a few here.
And since, after I saw the Nebraska State Capitol, I met up with friend Jane and we drove across the state to her childhood home of Arapahoe, I thought this was the perfect place to insert a few poems about Nebraska. These are from a collection called Corn Tassels, published in 1897 by William Reed Dunroy. Most of the poems are about the life events one normally associates with poetry — love, sorrow, beauty — but there are a number of Nebraska poem, and the book itself bears the dedication, “To the state I love, NEBRASKA, and to her people.” And I must say, even today, the Nebraska I saw largely reflected what Dunroy describe in his poems.
The Land of Corn
FAR inland from the raging sea,
And its boom and rush and roar,
There lies a land, wide, wide and green,
As flat as a dancing floor—
‘Tis Nebraska, the land of corn.
The sun just seems to love the land,
For it shines the whole year through,
And the skies smile down upon her plains,
Serenely, calm and blue—
O’er Nebraska, the land of corn.
And the prairies are clad for many a mile
With the tossing plumes of corn,
And the fields of wheat wave like a sea
Of green, on a summer morn—
In Nebraska, the land of corn.
A man may wander far way,
From the old Nebraska home,
But his heart will long by night and day
Wherever he dares to roam—
For Nebraska, the land of corn.
We love that land with fervent love,
All we who tread her soil,
And we pray God’s blessing upon the heads
Of the men who live and toil—
In Nebraska, the land of corn. Continue reading