For Grant Wood

By Margaret Mackinnon Margaret Mackinnon

                 "The trees are mended."

A shy man seeks perfection in his art:
Across vast acres, color and shape of tidiness,
Iowa's unruly grass submits, blade by blade.
The blue of Mother's dishes tints the sky.

Across vast acres, color and shape of tidiness,
sloping rows and rectangles piece a new land.
The blue of Mother's dishes tints the sky.
Like a black quilt tied with loops of green,

sloping rows and rectangles piece the new land.
The reassuring fields of corn unfold
like black quilts tied with loops of green.
Under the artist's alchemy,

the reassuring fields of corn unfold.
Sweet clouds hover like the hands of God.
Under the artist's alchemy,
even winter's leaden skies grow bright.

Sweet clouds hover like the hands of God
as the Thirties' skylines and bread lines disappear.
Even winter's leaden skies grow bright.
A yellow hill rises, like the belly of a woman ripe with child,

as the skylines and bread lines disappear.
Iowa's unruly grass submits, blade by blade,
a yellow hill rises—
and the shy man finds perfection in his art.

Source: Poetry (May 1998).

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This poem originally appeared in the May 1998 issue of Poetry magazine

May 1998

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Landscapes & Pastorals, Nature, Painting & Sculpture, Arts & Sciences, Photography & Film

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