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 FRESH FROM THE INKWELL 

KANSAS VOICES

This poem was published in KANSAS VOICES 2011, a book of winning poetry and prose from the annual Winfield Arts & Humanities writing contest. I wrote it while living in The Colony and teaching 3rd grade in Carrollton, north of Dallas, Texas. The judge's comments appear below.

CRYING FOR CRIDER (Adult Runner-Up)

I’ll miss you, Crider Road,
when you close for good tomorrow.
I’ve grown to love your curves and turns;
each bump and crack feels like a friend.
Today I took you extra slow,
admiring morning glories.

As green makes way for asphalt,
glass, and brick—a shopping strip,
a parking lot—I’ll miss the gentle herds
that grazed, their chestnut heads arched
over the fence, to taste the juicy grass
beside your sloping shoulders.

One afternoon at the top of the hill
all traffic stopped for a cow who jumped
the wire and crossed to the old white house,
now gone, burned down mysteriously.

I’ll miss the black-eyed Susan, daisies,
Indian blanket, along this slice of country
not yet dozed or razed for office blocks
and gated homes. Dear Crider, you weathered
water, drought, and hail throughout
my three years’ rural commute.

Sunrise lit my way accompanied by trumpets
as I conducted March of the Day on WRR.
Avoiding mudslides at the last bend,
I skirted ditches, ever expecting
an ambulance and diversion signs.

Laid off, redundant, dead you’ll lie, blocked
by barriers. The Josey Lane extension beckons,
broad, straight, flat. Swoosh! The traffic whispers,
Join us. This is progress. This is good.

"Hazel Spire's poem, 'Crying For Crider,' has the quality of a slow reverie. It successfully evokes the sadness of a pensive woman recalling details of her daily commute on a country road the day before the road is 'laid off' for good.

What strikes me most about the poem is its remarkable musicality. The poem's speaking voice, believable and natural, flows smoothly in and out of a lulling iambic pentameter: 'I'll miss you, Crider Road,' the poem begins simply. A few lines down, the rhythm changes; 'I've grown to love your curves and turns; each bump and crack feels like a friend./Today I took you extra slow.'

In this poem, Spire, a fine wordsmith, manages many poetic devices: assonance (curves, turns), consonance (dozed, razed), alliteration (sloping shoulders, weathered, water). These devices never seem overdone, but work together with rhythm and tone to create a longing in the reader for beautiful, temporal places like Crider Road."

~ Nedra Rogers, Poet & Teacher, Lawrence, Kansas. Read More 
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