Zingara Poetry Pick: Plainsong by Carrie Jerrell

This poetry pick comes from a collection titled “After the Revival” by Carrie Jerrell, which was recommended to me as a book I would like. The collection won the 2008 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize.


If you saw my footprints around the barn loft’s ladder,
you would know I tie each bale with sisal twine and secrets.

If you saw me kneel among cut sweetcorn stalks,
you would know I hear vespers in the auger’s rush.

If Red-tails scouted the warren’s edge, or murders called
from their barbed wire roots, you would hide me in rows
of ruby snapdragons, mend my briar-lashed hands;

like the dobbin, you would carry me where jack-in-the-pulpits grow
beneath cathedraling white oaks and hickory.

If sunset turned ripe wheatfields honey-gold,
and the combine hummed as it cleared the hundredth acre;
if, after dark, haze hung like a new heaven above the furrows,

you would know the harvest moon is hear,
that sheets left on the line will smell of blazing stars in the morning,

and that I wait upstairs for you, barefoot on the pine floor,
unplaiting the amber linens of my hair.


Carrie Jerrell was born in Petersburg, Indiana, USA in 1976. She received her MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and her PhD from Texas Tech University. A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she is an assistant professor of English at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky and serves as the poetry editor for Iron Horse Literary Review.

Interview with Carrie Jerrell

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