Aesthetic Realism Online Library Poetry by Martha Baird

    Man and Nature in New York and Kansas

    Have you ever seen the fields of wheat, nothing but wheat,
         from here to the horizon?
    Ah, then, you have missed something.
    I remember the wheat in Lane County, Kansas,—
    Named for James H. Lane, "Jim Lane, of Kansas", a hero at the
         time of "bleeding Kansas", a brave man who worked hard and
         took chances so that no human being should be owned by any
         other human being in Kansas.
    So Lane County, Kansas, is named for him,
    And I remember the wheat fields there.
    Let me tell you how it was.
    The earth is even, west of Dighton,
    And the road is straight.
    On both sides, there is the wheat,
    As far as you can see;
    And it waves
    In the wind.
    The heads of the wheat are heavy
    And the stems are slim.
    The heads have a deeper color than the stems,
    Deeper green in spring,
    Deeper amber later.
    And so there is waving green,
    Or waving amber,
    Mile on mile.
    The sky is blue and wide and bright,
    And the wheat waves under it.
    I remember the wheat, and I hear the wheat saying:
    "See what nature and man can do!
    See what nature and man can do!
    Be happy,
    We are the wheat."

    Have you ever seen the high buildings of Manhattan, near
         sundown, on a cold, gray day?
    Ah, then, you have missed something.
    Let me tell you how it is.
    Walk down Lexington Avenue
    Towards 57th Street,
    And look to the west.
    Look up and see
    The great tall buildings,
    The cold stone buildings,
    High against the sky.
    Look! the great stone buildings are pink!
    The setting sun is making them rosy!
    They are solid and rosy,
    And give forth light.
    The gray sky is confused and scurrying;
    It is rosy too, in spite of itself.
    The proud gorgeous buildings
    Love the light.
    They love the sun for making them rosy,
    Showing what they can be.
    Busy people go about their business,
    Eyes on the ground,
    While the proud gorgeous buildings say with the
         wheat fields:
    "See what nature and man can do!
    See what nature and man can do!
    Be happy,
    We are the rosy buildings and the wheat."

    From Nice Deity (Definition Press)
    © 1955 by Martha Baird

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