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About this Poem 

"'Field' is something I wrote right after teaching W. H. Auden's poem 'The Wanderer' and as I was just finishing reading Jane Austen's Persuasion again. I think the combination of these two put me into a useful state of melancholy, the kind of pleasant, autumnal tinge of morbidity that I find good for making poems."
—Erin Belieu

Field

Erin Belieu, 1967

Field is pause   field is plot   field is red chigger bump where

the larvae feed   corn wig curled in your ear. Field cares not

a fig for your resistance   though kindly   gently   lay your

head down   girl   lay it down.
   When ready   storm   when

summer   kilned smoothly as a cake. Awake! Awake and

wide is field. And viral. Biotic. Field of patience   of percolation

and policy. Your human energy. Come again? What for? In

field   there is no time at all   no use   a relief   the effort done

which is   thank you   finally   the very lack of you.   Lay your

head down   girl   lay it down.
   In field   which has waited since

you first ascended to the raw end of your squared off world and

gazed upon your subjects:   congery of rat snake   corn snake

of all the low ribbons bandaging the stalks. Progress in field

foot sliding in matter   slick chaff in fall.   And always   field’s oboe

this sawing   a wind   that is drawing its nocturne through the 23rd

mansion of the moon. Field   is Requiel’s music and the Wild Hunt

of offer. In field   they are waiting   you are sounding. Go home.
 

Copyright © 2013 by Erin Belieu. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on May 13, 2013. Browse the Poem-a-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Erin Belieu. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on May 13, 2013. Browse the Poem-a-Day archive.

Erin Belieu

Erin Belieu

Erin Belieu was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on September 25, 1967, and received a BFA from the University of Nebraska, an MFA from Ohio State University, and an MA from Boston University.

by this poet

poem
When I think of the many people
who privately despise children,
I can't say I'm completely shocked,

having been one. I was not
exceptional, uncomfortable as that is
to admit, and most children are not

exceptional. The particulars of 
cruelty, sizes Large and X-Large, 
memory gnawing it like

a fat dog, are
poem

Mother, I'm trying
to write
a poem to you—


which is how most
poems to mothers must
begin—or, What I've wanted
to say, Mother.
..but we
as children of mothers,
even when mothers ourselves,

cannot bear our poems
to them. Poems to