All Along the Fields of My Youth—Free Verse

Inspired by “Grass” written by Bai Juyi


It is only the cold part of spring, but the perfume of the tall grass reaches

Miles farther than the faint smell of last year’s wildfire.

Where last year’s fire burned low and hot across the field of grass,

The weeds reach into the baren black, and it won’t be dead for long.

I await the wildflower and flowing green that once led me home,

And I wonder If I will see anyone I used to know driving the main street

That had been widened at least once since I left as a child.


I was inspired by this ancient Chinese poem that had been translated into English, and I used it as a general framework to create my own poem. Please read Bai Juyi’s poem, “Grass,” here:


A free verse poem has no set pattern for line or stanza length. Rhyme is not used, or it is used sparingly. The line length and the rhythm or the lines are dictated by the natural rhythm of speech or other concerns such as emphasis on a particular word, image, or idea.

October Poem 41: Set in Ink

Tomorrow I will begin set in ink

By grass. To sleep as if I had been drawn

There in the field of clover. A homeless

Man hung over with his belongings tied

Into a red handkerchief hung at the

End of a stick traveling alongside

My curly haired mutt. Have they seen her legs?

Hair dirty and knotted, choked with burrs. Her

Underside dripping with fatted ticks

Suckling on her teats like so many of

The unconscious biases that the left

Have about the nature of the evil

Capitalist system. On genius and

Who they think I am by the way I look.




October Poem 2: Attending Father’s Death Bed

Their hills of red clay stand out against the

Browning green of the grass warning like a

Stop sign the dangers out hiding in the

Memories of earlier days. Running

Through the grass watching the hoppers flee. Your

Trundling steps, when did they go missing?

The ants working hidden in the fields, the

Tall grass their hunting grounds. Biting, stinging,

And killing. The prick around your ankle

Could have been a burr. But another up

Your leg and then the burning and itching.

Again, you are running. They smell spicy

As they make their way up your shoe and in

Your socks. As you were caught unsuspecting.