I've Come Calling
The dirt road runs the border, always waiting.
Small granite gems sparkle from the dust,
corn too dry to wave as I pass, each with a single ear
darkening. The creek abandoned, willows stripped
from its banks, black loam sliding in, long grasses
in slow murky water.
I’ve come calling today
at the homeplace.
I smell Dad’s dry footsteps,
alongside pheasant and coon tracks
in moist mud. His sons don’t notice
our father’s quiet tread as they grease combines,
climb stairs to the corn dryer. Storage bins stand
like monuments to endless tractor driving
in the flatlands, mountains of corn casting shadows
on the orchard and house we grew up in.
The barn a prop that cuts wind
for feedlot cattle.
I feel the coal smoke
rising from the house, arcing
to the winter sky. I’m come to interrupt
silence, to keep an old dialog going.
My feet make conversation, my mind catches
the drift of pig manure, the burn barrel lit up
at dusk, smoldering for days.
© 2016 Anne Maren-Hogan
Anne Maren-Hogan is a poet gardener. Originally from the Midwest, Anne now lives in Western North Carolina. Anne’s first chapbook, The Farmer’s Wake, was published by Finishing Line Press.
“Laying the Past in the Light” delivers wisdom and insight from a rural writer who’s breathed deeply from the land all her life, both in Iowa and North Carolina. She hones in with equal skill on both the mystery of death and the resurgent power of landscapes, those at hand and those recalled. Ms. Maren-Hogan pointedly pulls in the forces of nature (human and otherwise) to craft her lines. These poems could surely hustle me outdoors with a straw hat and sharpened scythe.
—Timothy Fay, Wapsipinicon Almanac
There is a sense of always just arriving home in Anne’s poems — yet there is also so much here of what Ilya Kaminsky calls “strangeness that wakes us”: a strangeness not only in her carefully-cultivated turns of phrase, but in the way Anne’s poems regenerate the immediacy of language trimmed “to an essence.” There is much to admire in the technical ability of these poems, yet I find myself more often absorbed in the people and landscapes which so vividly grow from these pages: tuberous, clotted with loam and jewelweed from the soil of memory. I look forward to reading
and re-reading these poems for years to come.
—Brian Sneeden, senior editor of New Poetry in Translation, University of Connecticut
Anne Maren-Hogan’s shining new chapbook, “Laying the Past into the Light,” performs a magical layering of generation within generation, of farmland within region, and most notably there is a sublime respect and love expressed for each small entity along the path, be they light or dark. I have greatly admired this poet’s territory and depth of voice for a long time. Anne is the mountain cave alive and singing! Listen well as you read and reread this gem of a collection.
—Katherine Soniat, author of Bright Stranger