“Oh, He Knows”

Summer: Young September's Cornfield 1954 by Alan Reynolds born 1926

“Oh, He Knows”

Oh, he knows, he surely knows that pain,
And in the morning of his life he drew
Himself from deeper wells he knew
He could not fathom, nor did the rain
Object, no rival to his tears, and all he did was dance.
Departing early, Venus rising in the mists of cold Nebraska dawns
Found sweat and pleasures in his skin as he was drawn
To deeper paths beyond the last and lasting chance
To turn aside; but, no! He did not return. And neither
Did he stop till he was well beyond the sleeping town
And found himself the audience of a thousand feathered clowns
Atop the ocean rows of corn and maize and high above the purple ether
Of the shallow island’s edge. The vanities that irrigate his endless thoughts
Were rivers then, and there he danced until he dropped.

…painting at top by Alan Reynolds…

5 responses to ““Oh, He Knows”

  1. Are you permitted to reveal if this is a real person and who it might be???

  2. Clouded Reflections … dancing…x

  3. Yes. It’s something I used to do when I was still in high school. There were the usual pains in youth that anyone alive must feel when introduced to a world greater than the school he attends. These are too numerous to mention here, but since you are about the same age as I am and lived through the same years, I am sure you remember the confining nature of life as it was then, the changes that were beginning to happen in the late 50’s and early 60’s and where it all led. I somehow knew I would not remain in Nebraska all the days of my life, and while I never really shared that conviction with anyone in town because I did not sense that anyone else felt that same wanderlust, still, I knew my hour would come as surely as I knew that it would never come for my friends.

    There is nothing quite like a cold Nebraska morning, and in that time, I knew, whenever I was free to do so that I would get up, throw on some clothes and walk north toward the cornfields that were near enough to my house but far enough away that I could guarantee isolation, and even if I froze my ass in the beginning of one of those little escapes, I knew that soon enough the boiling, filthy hot summer humidity would get to me by the time I got to the fields.

    If you know corn, you know that there are male and female corn plants and that the females grow to be at least ten feet tall and are all topped with yellow tassels loaded with pollen. The males are shorter. The only job any kid could get that made enough money to make it worth the sweat was detasseling corn or taking the tassels off the female plants so that they could be pollinated by the pollen from the males; hybrid corn is the result. It’s the same with maize. The fields were gigantic, and I could get lost in them for hours. When the heat became unbearable to the point of feeling as if I were on the inside of someone’s mouth, I always knew I could toss of my clothes and jump into one of the irrigation ditches that were always continuously flowing with icy water from the wells pumped to keep the crops irrigated. The sensation was to die for. On days when storms were coming in, I could stand in the middle of one of those fields and because Nebraska is so flat, I could see storms coming from forty miles away. There was nothing quite like standing there dripping with sweat and looking west and even though there was a certain degree of danger in doing so, I knew that if I stood there long enough, the storm would reach me and those first few moments, the first drops of cooling rain, the sound of and sight of thunder and lightning, again, were to die for; every years, some usually did die from lightening strikes and somehow I knew it would not happen to me. Then the torrent of rain, the joy of freezing rain, the whole of it provided every reason to dance.

    This sufficed in the beginning, but sooner or later, my world expanded, and when I could drive, I would take off and experience something of the same thing on the Platte River which, by the time I was in high school was a mile wide and about two or three feet deep due to damming further west in Nebraska. I grew up from grade nine through high school in Grand Island, Nebraska, the third largest city in Nebraska which is in fact on an island because the Platte divides into the North and South Platte Rivers and creates an island on which my hometown stands.

    To make a long story short, I gradually graduated on beyond both my hometown and ultimately my state and now that I look back on it, while I thought I was in pursuit of personal salvation, it was in fact the pursuit of vanities, and as you have no doubt discovered, vanities are everywhere to be satisfied when one is in his twenties and thirties.

  4. P. S. Of course, before that time, I narrowly escaped from Kansas. No one actually leaves Kansas unless he has “escaped” and many, many souls there never make it out unless they accidentally set foot in Colorado or Oklahoma; Colorado if they are ambitious; Oklahoma if they’re after even more of whatever Kansas is.

  5. Aha!!

    Then, I know of Kansas-ness since I spent some time in Oklahoma…

    I escaped the torture of having a truly Christian mother and a dictatorial father, with the split that caused in my questing consciousness (not to mention the broil set up in my unconscious), found vanities aplenty which, finally, at forty-two, cast me out on the Shore of His Sea…

    Been constantly bailing out and re-patching my mental boat ever since, trying to stay afloat in His Cause………

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