Prairie Poetry   
  Sandhill Plum Butter

In the tangy, homely taste
I live again a distant afternoon
When we stopped along a rutted road
Deep in rough country near the river
And wandered into plum thickets.

Knee-high the straggly bushes
Scratched our careless legs
As we struggled through the sand,
Stretching for every stingy plum,
Driven by self-indulgence.

We'd keep this custom every autumn
Out in Dewey County, Oklahoma,
Above the South Canadian,
As our family had so many years before
Far on the Nebraska plains.

And when the fruit was processed,
Trimmed and washed and simmered,
Mashed and strained,
Sugared, packed, and sealed,
Then safely stored on cellar shelves,

We'd caught the prairie in a jar,
Wild and tart, generous, glowing
With the sunshine of a hundred skies,
Fresh with the fragrant winds
Off a thousand miles of grassland.

  John I. Blair
  Copyright © 2005 John I. Blair
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