Kansas Poems
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View a Poem on This Page; Select & Click a Title Below

Break-up of my Landscape -- by Chandra Dickson


Going Home -- by Ronda Miller


Guy -- by Kevin Heaton


In Kansas to Stay -- by Roy J. Beckemeyer


Kansas August Evening -- by Jamie Lynn Heller


Kansas Rides -- by Jamie Lynn Heller

Love Letter to Kansas -- by Pamela McMaster Yenser

Love Letters from Kansas.... 7 by DaMaris B. Hill


September 24th, Overland Park, KS -- by Shawn Pavey


Redbuds -- By Greg Hack



 New Poems Last Added: 11-22-11


By Greg Hack


Redbuds in the wild

Grasses copper, straw and green

Springís Flint Hills glory 


Kansas August Evening
by Jamie Lynn Heller

Open my window, Mommy

she said

I want to hear the

cicada lullaby  


In Kansas To Stay

 by Roy J. Beckemeyer


Up to my shoulders

In Indian Grass,

I find that I, too, have taken root

In this prairie,

Sent shoots feeling their way

Past granules and pebbles

Into blackness,

Into resistance,

Into the iron-hard turf.


Now the wind can send me swaying wildly,

The sun can dry and crack my skin,

But, like the prairie grass,

I am anchored,

I am here to stay;

No pulling, no tugging

Can wrest me from this land.


Like the Indian Grass, I cling to this earth,

Every bit as urgently,

Every bit as exuberantly,

As I reach for the sky. 


Going Home (Oct. 2005)
by Ronda Miller

Grave sites scatter
either side of the dusty
gravel road like
a child's long forgotten marbles.
Many years ago
bitter, blinding tears
watered these sites daily,
caregiver to grass, trees,

Present Memorial Days
produce less tears,
a hasty pulling of weeds.
A different life
acknowledges time
passing much too quickly,
not unlike the tumble weed
blown across the steady
incline of I-70.

The foot that pressed
lightly, nimbly
on the gas pedal
all the way west
as close to the Colorado
and Nebraska borders

as you can get,
now presses slowly,
age and pain taking their toll.

Silent tears fall
as the car heads in the other direction.
Going east now through
waving, russet colored wheat fields.

Leaving the high plains and heading for Lawrence,
remaining burial sites
too soon calling my name,
filling again with familiar faces
of people I love.



by Kevin Heaton


To Kansas for harvest from up in Moline.

Met a young girl, her dad owned the place.

Not long thereafter they wound up together.

Worked hard all their lives in the hardest of days.


Grandpa was wee, but lord, oh so mighty.

Profoundly moral but never in church.

Faith in the remedies not in the doctors.

Rolled all his own from a Prince Albert can.


You grab an instrument grandpa could play it.

Played the barn dances way back in the day.

"Civil War Ditties" on an old barn dance fiddle.

Work boots a tappin' a tune on the floor.


When I was just four they were still on the farm.

We'd go to visit, a big thrill for me.

I helped churn the butter and gather the eggs,

then up on the mare and away we would go.


The thumb he used most was eternally swollen

by a Chincapin burr many long years before.

Got a bum shoulder at a shelter belt picnic.

When he cleared his nose, best not be nearby.


That thumb on a horseshoe was Mozart to music.

Way up in the air that horseshoe did soar,

then down on the peg without ever slidin'.

He'd let me win quarters then win them all back.


There are those who might say grandpa was calloused,

but in the depression you got tough or died.

Mom always said they were poor without knowing,

always had love, food, and something to wear.


On a big-dialed Philco he listened to baseball.

When I hid his cap, he called me a scamp.

Had a stroke near the end while tuned to a ballgame.

Wouldn't go to the doctor,

we carried him there.


Break-up of my Landscape

by Chandra E.A. Dickson 


On a sudden awkward drive away from Wichita to Boulder, you point out that I am Midwestern; a Kansas landscape puzzle without the pieces in the middle that form the interesting part of the picture: the center of the bisonís eye, the wildflowers whose names I do not know, the rocky tips of the Flint Hills. I worry about the longest drought in twenty years, the out-of-control grass fires that crept across the state line from Oklahoma, spreading across the fields into Harvey, Burton Ö


How the plains of my life would look charred blackó


How one grain of wheat feels in my hand and the strength it takes to hike Mt. Sunflower at dawn; to look out and see the crest of the Rockies and know that was as far west as weíd go. Understanding this landscape as home.



All poetry on this page
© by
their authors - 2009, 2011


Love Letters from Kansas to Oz: Poems about a Poet


by DaMaris B. Hill



some, thing's angel

the home in each of my poems

rumors blister

like pinchy rosaries


heaven is not above

but closer

reclining in the rim of your smile

i am a witness

never blinked

when i looked away


i want to sip light

give me music of your veins

the electric lasso of your gaze

tugging after laughter

with your fingers

knead me   



Love Letter to Kansas

by Pamela McMaster Yenser


I have always wanted to recite love

letters written clear as the unfettered

Salmon of the West on the sandy-shored

Snake or the swift and shadowy St. Joeó

so unlike those thick rivers of our youth

that muddied the gowns of baptismal whites

and darkened the slick canoes lovers rent

for loveís languishments.


Our brown bodies

listened too, to loveís insistent tune,

strung high up as the songs cicadas

hum in dreams left hanging on the bark

of river cottonwoods, their insides emptied

out by ants and blown through yards and yards

of backyard laundry lines, barbed wire claws

hooked on bright underwear, mostly mine

as I recall, more elegant than yours, more light.


Itís summer now and now Iím thinking

all the time along riverlines, how

the fragrant brown riverbath of the past

eddies out of the deep ecstatic blue

pool that draws my lightening fly lineó

now a whip, now an S on paperwhite sky,

now passing (psst-psst) downstream as I am

one with the fly in her fuzzy coat,

lustrousóthat is, until we two are snagged.


I know this is not what is meant by

catch and release, but look how Iíve tried:

to channel my rivers of fear,

to thread hope through the smallest eye,

to tie the knots that will not come untied.

I want to get this right, to extend my hand

just so far, to cast myself upstream.


If your fish arenít biting, I tell myself,

it must love itself Iím fighting, that you yourself

must be released, like letters let go. But wait,

I think, isnít that only halfway trueó

the way home is like a river running through

the great dead sea of childhood. The way

I want you. The way I turn you loose. 


Originally Published in Touchstone (September 2003)  


Kansas Rides
by Jamie Lynn Heller


I gripped the under curve of metal

lining the bed of his farm battered truck

to keep from getting

tossed out

and lost in the prairie sea.

The hot wind in my hair

carried the breath of the land in bloom and

hours later in bed my pillow would

absorbed the scent

to keep me company.

I could see the bald curve of his head

through the back window,

the tip of a toothpick pricked his silhouette,

one hand on the wheel,

his left arm, from shirt sleeve to watch band,

a long time partner of the sunís.

It didnít matter where he went

or what chore waited,

I went along and

rode the fields.   


September 24th, Overland Park, KS

by Shawn Pavey


Outside my office tower

a couple times a day,

I stand under the sky in the world

and smoke.


Today, the air is cool

as leaves on trees adjust

to the newly arrived season.


Maples redden,

cottonwoods gild,

dressed splendid

for a short trip on wind


and then, to rest

on grass and dirt.


Cigarette smoke rises on breeze,

leaves slip to the air and fall

as soft light, autumn stained,


warms my shirt before I ascend

to climate control,

a cluttered desk,

computer, cold coffee,

and telephone.




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