Nine-Mile Prairie, April

What I like is the sound of my own laugh on the prairie
when two swallows dive-bomb me for walking

A comical image! –Rachel Talen, age 22
This is a vivid image of the swallows. –Hannah Fleming, age 15

too close to their nest.
What I like is the sound of frogs, the just-out-of-mud sounds
of peepers grinding their song as if to sharpen it,
same song, same verse forever.

The sound doves make is difficult to describe—but she does it! Not only are we visualizing the prairie, but also listening in on the very private sounds of this environment. This adds to the aura of the prairie and takes readers a step deeper. We know this sound is a bird, but now we know why the doves sound that way. –Rachel Talen, age 22

What I like is the sound of her dove,
mourning an old-old-old forever.

I like this line, how they sharpen the song that they will always sing. It is also comforting how the song never changes. –Hannah Fleming, age 15

What I like is last year’s lespedesa, thin ladies in bonnets

Another striking image, anthropomorphizing the plants, making them seem more real. –Kara Madden, age 22

Nodding yes, yes, uhuh, uhuh

I love this image. Bonnets naturally tilt forward to make their wearers look like they are nodding. –Rachel Talen, age 22

What I like is last year’s indigo: dried up, faded, bent.
What I like is a locust tree, no leaves yet, but sporting—
temporarily—a thrush.
The smell of plum brush so sweet it makes some exquisite nerve ache.
Cottonwoods with wads of nests: hankies close to the bosom.
What I like is when a quail startles me, wants to drag race,
fencerow to zenith in one gasp.
What I don’t like is when the dark military airplane rises huge

The plane seems so invasive to this special place. –Rachel Talen, age 22
Wow, what a surprising change! This really highlights the difference between the natural world and the technological, modern world. The invasion of the airplane seems to be indicative of the overpowering and occupying of the natural world that modern society perpetuates. –Kara Madden, age 22

out of the horizons. What I don’t like is the jump of fear on my skin,
but I take a breath and watch it come low over my head. No shark’s
mouth open inits underbelly: it banks left in its ocean, and its
drone drains away.
What I don’t like is when a tick is running on my jeans, a red-black
dot on my thigh, and when I brush him off, he doesn’t brush, but
flattens and sticks.
What I like is when I find a mound of dirt and I don’t know what
creature’s paws dug it.
What I like is a bob-white on this hill; the larks ringing like bells
on the next hill over.
What I like is when a deer shows herself on the ridge,
and I see her and three others running exactly on the horizon,
running on stage, the sky the backdrop, a silent movie,

Deer are so quiet. I think this really displays their gracefulness. –Rachel Talen, age 22

each deer a small perfect silhouette bounding,
each one humpin in turn over a tiny fence.

This entire image is so vivid and intriguing! --Hannah Fleming, age 15

What I like is a wind coming up out of the west.
What I like is when the wind colls my armpits and cheeks and nape

The vocabulary here lends an incredible texture to the description. –Andrew De Haan, age 23

and blows over my ears, stereophonic,
music like the beginning and the whole entire point of it all:
motif, restatement, coda and conclusion
and when that winds brings to my face
the smell of Nine-Mile Prairie, April,
Unbreached, intact
sooty, long-covered.
Prairie, April
Like me: old, new, thawed, moist, ready.

Powerful ending that really ties the themes of the poem together. –Andrew De Haan, age 23
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.