A Poem from My Dad on the Occasion of Poe’s Death

Last week, my parents visited us over the weekend. Their stay was extended by a vehicular malfunction. My dad returned home, car fixed and a shiny new repair bill under his arm, and wrote this. I don’t know if he meant for me to publish it. We’ll see. 


by Paul Willingham

We took a little trip in our Mercury auto
Out through the farm byways of Minnesota
Crossed the border into South Dakota
To visit the chief poet at Claims Poetica

We weren’t deterred by freeway lanes narrowing
The corn and bean harvest was in full swing
Green behemoths, chewing, shelling, grain a-spewing
And rival crimson machines were also working

Past a gleaming chemical plant, the sign read POET
Hmmm, Miracle Gro for poets, wouldn’t you know it
Sip this magic elixir, then start to pen it
As the words start to flow and the rhymes are a great fit

The radio announcer notes that Edgar Allen Poe
Died this date one hundred fifty three years ago
POET inspiration fluids, Edgar ‘the poet’ Poe
A coincidence you say, well I do not think so

Quotes from Poe the Poet, but not the raven
“The generous critic fann’d the Poet’s fire,
and taught the world with reason to admire”…
“Poetry is the rhythmical, creation of beauty in words”

(Edgar Allan Poe 1/19/1809 – 10/7/1849)

6 responses

  1. Sheila Dailie

    Who would think that a city guy could make harvest fresh and intriguing to a girl born, raised and settled in bean and corn territory? I remember the boys arguing at recess about the BEST brand of equipment (determined, of course, by what their dad owned!), but those two lines “Green behemoths, chewing, shelling, grain a-spewing
    And rival crimson machines were also working” help me see it in a fresh way. Thank you, Paul. Harvest is truly one of life’s miracles!

    2012/10/16 at 6:54 AM

    • Paul Willingham


      If I was farming, I would probably favor the green. I went to high school only about 10 miles from where Deere built his first self cleaning plows at Gran Detour, Illinois. I saw a bumper sticker last year on a pickup down in Iowa, “If it ain’t red, keep it in the shed”.p

      2012/10/16 at 8:19 AM

      • Sheila Dailie

        Funny! Most farmers around here prefer Green, too. But “rival” was NOT a term I’d thought of regarding machinery! If your aim was to make readers look at the “same old, same old” in a different way, you certainly succeeded!

        2012/10/16 at 8:36 AM

  2. I see where you get it, Lyla.

    2012/10/17 at 12:04 PM

  3. cool, dad.

    2012/10/19 at 11:54 AM

  4. So fun. Your dad is full of surprises.

    2012/10/21 at 8:41 PM

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