A Meditation on Scale

Some traveler through Indiana in 1816 mentioned
the unrelieved monotony of the Tipton Till Plain.
He must have missed the gravel ridges at Geetingsburg
where wheat curves crest and fall away like a violent sea.

He must not have noticed near the barns of the great-footed horses,
a rise that trends northwest, that is not a drumlin or kame,
that looks almost the same but is different.
He must not have known he could stand

with one foot on soil with an iron red tint from Ontario,
with one foot on blacker soil, redolent of swamp,
from Michigan. Maybe he'd been to Utah, where
the landscape is perpendicular, where travelers speak

of wind-swept passes, of veins of precious metals,
of dinosaur bones. Here below the house on sloping grass
and gravel are metallic specks, and tiny shells
cast up half a million years ago in thin-walled fragility,
and one petrified claw of a saber-toothed cat.

Judy Smith McDonough

If you've any comments on her poems, Judy Smith McDonough would be pleased to hear from you.