Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Out of Standard: Whirly-gig the Bounty



Corn and Chemtrails.   Copyrighted, Isadora Gruye Photography.

Welcome Garden Dwellers one and all to the October edition of Out of Standard.  Once a month I will set before you a challenge to defy the conventions of a particular theme and find new places in the everyday.

I will begin this month’s prompt by way of a tale, a true and slightly ominous story from my recent work travels.   

It was nearly six by the time I had left Des Moines, my rental car heading north on the interstate.  Four hours of nondescript landscape was wedged between me and my home.   I had playlists decked up on the ipod.  I had soda, and apples, and pretzels, and hummus (a far superior meal to any of the fast food I would find at the state-sponsored Freeway pavilions along the way).  

Night set on quickly and soon the road and fields around me were pitch black, except for an orb of light on the eastern horizon...a swatch of brightness so big, it would normally indicate a large city or runway.  But by this time in my drive, the largest city was 300 miles away.  I was flummoxed (and harboring a fear of alien abduction, a little rattled).  As I drove onward, the light grew brighter and more patches appeared to the east and west.  Soon, the lights were upon me, and I realized the source:  giant harvesting machines in the dozens, mowing their way across the land.  I turned down my radio, and the hum of their droning filled the car.  The rest of the drive through the country was filled with a similar sight:  300 miles of crops being swallowed in the flood lit October evening.  

And that, my toads, is what inspired this challenge:  the mechanical harvest.
  
Those of us in the northern hemisphere are well into autumn.  A season I have long associated with fat pumpkins and squashes plucked tenderly from the vine, golden ears of corn placed lovingly in piles which resemble pyramids, deep rosy apples carried in aprons from the tree limb to the table where they are sprinkled with cinnamon or baked in between flaky folds of pie crust.   I had never considered the machine:  the rusty hands, the whirling metal gears, the flood lights glaring through the night.  The harvest bringers who run on petro and who will never tire.  



Ain't no Disco.  Copyrighted Isadora Gruye photography.

What I am asking: whirly-gig the bounty....write a poem about the mechanical nature of the modern harvest. The angle and tone is of your choosing but explore!  And bring us back something unexpected.   I have supplied a few photos to break up the wall of text and to inspire, but they do not have to be used to write your poem.  Like every challenge, your poem must by newly written for this challenge and not one previously written which conveniently fits the theme.   


24 comments:

Fireblossom said...

I've got a haiku I wrote in 1999 about a can opener. May I use that?

I'm kidding! Stop hitting me. I shall put my nose to my designer pink grindstone and see what I can come up with. :-)

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is a challenge and a half, Izy. I love how you always make us think outside the box. I have an awful "function" to attend this evening (I have to dress up and listen to speeches...just kill me)but I will certainly be writing to this theme, sometime in the week. I seem to be doing my dystopian thing these last few weeks so this suits me perfectly.

Teresa said...

This is right up my alley since my corn was just mechanically harvested last week! And I have the pictures to go with it!

aprille said...

Hiya Izy,
Lovely. First your eery journey and then an excuse to use a picture I took last month of the latest acquisition to our farm's collection of toys. So pretty, but so useful. I loved seeing it in motion, like a giant red metal ballerina pirouetting over the field.
Better than those huge machines you describe, which we also have plenty of around here. But that harvest is long since in.
Thanks for the prompt.

Fireblossom said...

My haiku is up. :-P

hedgewitch said...

As always Izy you come up with a beacon of a challenge and I am moth-like to the flame--your story is a perfect mood-setter(or maybe buzz killer) Off to see what comes along--have some things I can't avoid today, so may be late.

Kateri said...

I live in the middle of Michigan farm country--soy and corn still being harvested right now. But I've never seen anything as impressive as you describe.

Patricia Anne McGoldrick said...

Izy, thanks for this prompt!
Finally put together some thoughts on one of those childhood memories.:)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This one took me back, Izy. Thanks.

Ella said...

Beautiful written Izy! I'm gathering idea~ I live a mile from a Farmer's market and sometimes there is a parade of farm equipment that makes me late to appts and such~
Intriguing! :D

W.k. kortas said...

Man, am I glad this challenge is here-- I had nothing in the pipeline.

Susan said...

I NEARLY wrote about what I feel is gobbling the world, the mind, sanity altogether, but opted for a kind of lightness instead. And I cheated, too, because the only corn I've eaten in two years is the local harvest at 80 cents an ear. But words have no sense of obedience today, they totally went with memory instead. I'll be back tomorrow to be inspired some more. Thanks, Izzy.

Kay L. Davies said...

Oooh, Izy, this is a tough one. I might live in Alberta but I know very little about harvesting methods.
Think, think, think.
This might take a while!
K

manicddaily said...

Hi Izzy - your story and pictures very cool. I don't know if mine fits the bill and it's got various quirks. I tried to record it but then kept editing and someone is staying in my apartment who I don't know well so didn't want to read it aloud again for recording after they'd arrived. (Ha!) (I thought they might think I was nuts.) Hmmmm....

Thanks. k.

Isadora Gruye said...

as always, we real toads are real serious in our offerings. Everyone embraced the mechanical harvest in their own way, and I enjoyed all of them! I will be posting my own piece soon: work has been hectic and with travel my brain is a little frumpy. Those who have not posted and want to, please do!

viva la

Kay L. Davies said...

Okay, Izy, I did it! I'm so proud of me, and with Wikipedia photos, too.
K

Susie Clevenger said...

What a challenge Izy. I struggled a bit with it, but finally came up with something

Anupama K. Mazumder said...

I thought mechanization was good?

www.anucreations.blogspot.in

Isadora Gruye said...

@Anupama....this prompt isn't about good or bad....just about poetry and how the poet chooses to interpret a "Mechanical Harvest"...can't wait to see what you come up with!!!!!!

Ella said...

I am a bit late to the dance! Thanks Izy I enjoyed this one~ :D

Margaret said...

...please forgive my bending the rules... and posting twice.. I linked incorrectly to #16. Will return later tonight or early tomorrow morning to comment on everyone's.

Mary Mansfield said...

This ended up going a direction I hadn't quite expected but I think it still works. Very nice prompt, Izy!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Better late than never...

Hannah said...

I'm in this boat with you, Kerry...Sure, I'll take a turn rowing! :lol:

Be around to read shortly...posting zen first...