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An ode to farm market reports

A change is sweeping over me

like a blast of fresh spring air

that carries smells of Midwest farms

and rich black soil there.


I’m embarrassed to admit it

but for years I was confused;

but I think I now can understand

farm market radio news.


I used to curse and swear and kick

when reports cut into shows

that let me know how many hogs

were lined up at St. Joe.


I would race right to my radio

when these reports came on the air

and change the dial to something else;

to what I didn’t care.


While it may be true I had no need

to know the price of grain,

what I hated was the melting

that reports did to my brain.


“This is impossible to follow,”

I would always quietly groan,

as announcers muttered numbers

in a monk-like monotone.


“Corn two fifty and a quarter,

two lower,” the man would drawl.

Until his numbers ran together

and made no sense at all.


“Beans a quarter up for June

to six and ten, July five-eighty,

twenty-five or six to four

and lightweight sows are holding steady.”


Try as I might to listen closely

and decode just what was said,

I couldn’t catch the train of thought

not even by a thread.


Now I was born in farm land

and know a barrow from a bull;

I know my way ’round corn fields

for all the tassels that I’ve pulled;


I know fair price for corn and beans

I’ve seen livestock sold and bought,

but I still didn’t get the farm reports

for all that I’d been taught.


But one day like a vision

I began to feel less stymied

as I listened to the radio

hearing numbers flitting by me.


I didn’t strain to listen;

just let the numbers glide on by.

Until I got the feeling

of a psychedelic high.


The pleasant buzz of integers

made me feel completely calm;

the droning made me feel relaxed;

I forgot all of my qualms.


You may not quite believe me,

it’s not easy to explain,

but I swear I was transported

to a new and different plain.


It was meditation pure and simple

to which I was a witness;

because after I was a brand new man

full of health and full of fitness.


There’s no need for meditating

in a levitation dome —

just use the old farm markets

’stead of the transcendental, “Om.”


I no longer shun the farm reports

but always give a listen

with palms turned upward on my knees

in a lotus sitting position.


Farm markets are a prayer-like chant,

like magical incantations;

a mantra for Midwesterners;

free-verse lyrics of plantations.


With mentions of cash crops and cows,

reports tell us we’re home

in the Midwest full of fresh spring smells.

It’s even worthy of a poem.

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