The Corner

Culture

Poetry

M.A.C.

East Lansing, Michigan

On either side, the highway’s barren stretch

Is dwarfed by the wide wastes of prairie grass,

Its pale dry leaves weaved with dark heads of vetch

And clumps of sumac shimmering like glass.

 

To look on this, you’d think man had just come,

Bloomed with the Queen Anne’s lace, and will not last;

What little he set down as soon succumb

To stands of pine and maple or wind’s blast.

 

But, if you see the little streets built up

On ancient marsh, the pool hall and brick church,

Where we boys grew both conscious and corrupt

Dispelling boredom, entering on the search

 

For just what sort of men we should become,

You’ll see the place is thick with ghosts, is haunted

By faces kissed, pain felt, and words that drum

Through time, as we sought what it was we wanted.

— James Matthew Wilson

This poem appears in the October 16 print issue of NR.

 

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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