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The Empty Field Game: Baltimore, MD, April 29, 2015

To learn more about the baseball game and the events surrounding that inspired this poem please click here but not here.

Baltimore, MD, April 29, 2015 

If America’s pastime could continue
past time, after the reign of noise and the city,
when most have retreated
to the hidden places of the world, tucked back
into the thicket of themselves. This game
would be a mirror to that future—the crack
of ash against ball, the smack of fist and leather
ghosting through a phantom crowd,
no collective stretch of arms to soften a home
run’s flight, no thousand cheers or shouts
like the quickening rush of water.
Were entertainment to wait out the apocalypse,
this is the sanctuary to where it might steal away,
the endurant diamond with the hardness
of its underground twin, choked in
but lustrous still, gleaming
if only for those who discover it, their spiked cleats
scratching and gouging the base paths
like a pickaxe swung again and again
against a vein of coal, the athlete like a miner
with no witness to his craft, only the glove
of the dark clamped loosely across his mouth
as if to stifle a scream, when all that can be mustered
is a wheeze, a cough, a sputter, or anything
that might clear the dust from his slowly filling lungs.


Bryn Homuth

Photo Credit: 


Brandon, The Mower*

NT; (c) Knightshayes Court; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

These wings fall down upon these blades of grass,
And my mechanical scythe reaps all weeds;
Though I a weed, a reaper who does pass
Through field and grove, sheering, shaping ill deeds.

With open plane set before my green face,
I fly with haste, making wide paths to cross;
No snares snap the sinews of my beast’s race,
Re-turning, I roar back against the dross. 

The reaper does no wrong when in the zone,
When casting aside the old for the new;
Beams burn his holy head, winds whip through bone,
But he plods on, through heat or morning dew. 

The reaper does no wrong, only right,
He mows all day, feeling light and quite gay;
Robins rejoice, children sing at the sight
Of new shorn grass open for work and play.

But at curb’s sight, this mower’s pulse will rise,
For he watches his left wing, lest it slips;
He watches the curb with care, fearing his demise,
He hears a clunk-clunk, his right wing he clips. 

Broom Snow
Hale Library,
Manhattan, Kansas
June 4, 2015

Painting: "A Rustic Holding A Scythe"
By Peter De Wint,
Oil on panel, n.d.


*Idea taken from Marvell's fantastic "Mower" poems.


Evening Harvest


The combine’s headlight filters
through the underbrush of the night
a lighthouse for the land-locked

on the margin of the road, the single beam higher and brighter

than the surrounding sets of two,
a beacon for the field, for the work to be done there—

the slow clawing of the plow,
the seeding, the watering. Today, though,
the harvest heaves open

the heavy cellar door of the dark, the highway

travelers oblivious, wearing the blinders
of a twilit journey, no glance toward the furrowed acres,

the stalk and seed, the drafty barns, the homes
with farmers asleep. This farmer is awake, churning
through crop, rousing himself with each turn of the radio dial  

as he rouses the ground itself  

at the hour when even the land seems to close its earthen eyes.
Here begins the bread of tomorrow.

If I had no car and he no machine,
if we were wayfarers of a buried age,
there would be no reason to acknowledge the other,

no way to know the other was there. Even yards apart,

the swish of his scythe or the brush
of his winnowing fork 

would have sounded just like the prairie wind
passing over my ears. 

Bryn Homuth
May 29, 2015
Recalling a bleary-eyed midnight drive on I-94

The Sheepfold, Moonlight
Oil on panel
Jean-François Millet, 1856-1860


Commission: "The Newton Paper"

Along the course of history’s arc, certain works aught to be penned, printed, painted or preserved. At that same moment, a person may may be found as just the one for said charge. This is all well and good, but what will they eat upon to have the strength to lift the pen or give in return for a place to lay the head? This is when the society reaches for the back pocket, as it were. We are, therefore, pleased to present these, the Commissioned Works of The Ink Society.


As with the first Ink Society commission, we continue to place a damper on the death knell of localism by releasing the second in the series. A tidy packet of paper with a local name and local face seemed just the thing. Hence, The Ink Society commissioned a collection of works on Newton Kansas by our own R. Eric Tippin to be printed in the form of a newspaper and scattered about town. If you are, by chance, quite pre-occupied with your own particular locale and cannot procure the ink and paper variety, the commission is included below for your perusal.

The Newton Paper


On a Walkthrough of My Wife's Childhood Home 


while she helps paint the walls,
the novice historian in me stirs,
and I picture her there, in the den
of youth. She runs a hand along a fresh coat
just dried, and walks
with the childlike tread of discovery,
the raised dots and grooves
leading around the room
as though a kind of Braille had been laid into the texture.
I try to find some trace of it in a pass of my fingertips,
as if I might find a faint outline—
a hieroglyphic remembrance,
a cipher entombed there,
if such a cipher could exist
for the complete knowledge of a person.
It must be involuntary, the encryption, a terminal
where the memory sits, doggedly typing,
coding the files of experience,
eyes dry and heavy in the screen’s glow.
If a scraper could chip, layer by layer, to the base
while still preserving the rest,
I might break off and pocket a fleck of each,
maybe to mix in a can of our own.
A pan of lustrous beige lies in the corner,
the roller still wet, the last section blank, anxious.
I touch the spongy cover,
and rub the paint between forefinger and thumb
as if to blend it with my skin
before it hardens.

Bryn Homuth
On a leisurely spring morning
May 18, 2015

"Inspection of the Old House"
Oil on Canvas - 1874
Ivan Kramskoy