Flying Over the Squares (for small farmers)

The little towns in their squares

light up, as do the scattered

lights of farmyards in the tilting,

fuzzy squares they’re locked in.


I balance a Chilian red

on a bumpy flight out to

one of those squares.


The West is red too,

after we bump to a

cruising altitude through

clouds threatening snow.


I’ve been here before,

but not in this sundown;

in these clouds;

drinking this wine;

in the lines of this poem.


Somewhere out there

I’ve been on the last

cool ride in the back

of a truck at evening,

watching a huge moon rise

and knowing this, too,

would be a last.


We knew that time would pass;

we knew we, too, would pass;


we knew that the land

would not forget us

because it never heard

our cries anyway.


We knew it, but

the terrible wrench

of knowing it


again and again—


the land proved careful

about showing us that,


or perhaps even we

might have rebelled.


Perhaps even we

might have blown out

our little lights

in the squares

and called it a night


with no tomorrow.


Land, what would you

have done without

our fierce burning?


What would we have done,

without our fierce burning?


For now, there is the red.


Then, the darkness,

but for the burning.

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About David Breeden

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden is Senior Minister at First Unitarian Society in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He became a minister after a career as a university professor, teaching creative writing and literature. He has written several books on theological topics and translates the writings of philosophers of classical antiquity. More information is available at