(Some Unintentional Poetry)

[Selected passages from Kik-Backs reimagined as poetry]

Enjoy Harvest

When the recent clouds
Moved in, and
Got a bit of our 
Standing grain
All wet and chilly,

It caused concern, 
To replace the stress 
In the excitable, and
Woke up the meek 
To reality. 

Now both are 
Able to walk 
Arm in arm, sharing
The same anxieties, 

'Til the last wheat heads 
Get threshed, and
Put away, where
It's nice and dry

 (from "Enjoy Harvest" Kik-Backs, page 46


Before Sugar Entered My Life

During the summer months 
    my bedroom partner 
        was a combine,
            next to my cot, 
                in an open machine shed. 

(The shed was located by a wheat field.) 

On sultry nights,
    sudden wind storms 
        would rattle the standing wheat. 

And the dampness 
    gave off a fresh 
        vegetation aroma.

A few raindrops 
    would find their way 
        through the cracks, 

Causing a restful, 
    contented feeling 
        to pass over me. 

It gave me reason to believe 
    that we could have 
        a fair crop after all. 

 (from "Sounds Of Nature" Kik-Back Country, page 102)



We, Christmas Children Of The Past 

Once again, 

Christmas time is here.

It’s interesting to go over 

Our past childhood Christmases.

Every event was brand new 

To us then. 

We have a lot to be thankful for, 

As most of us 

Will soon complete another year. 

We, Christmas children of the past, 

Are now playing the roles 

Of parents, 


Or the childless ones.


It’s how we found ourselves 

Cast in life.

(from "Remembering Santa Claus" Kik-Back Country, page 1)


Blue Skirt Waltz When the “Blue Skirt Waltz”     was on the national number one list, I bought my young wife     a blue dress. It was so beautiful,     and made perfectly for dancing. The accordion-like pleats     went all around Sugar’s waist. When she whirled to the tune     of the “Blue Skirt Waltz,” Her body was in the center     of all that flared-out material. There was a certain sweetness to life     in those days, That our present boldness     has wiped out. It was an era when,     you learned about things Rather late in life,     and in small doses. (from "World War Two Memories" Kik-Backs, page 42)

Walt Kik
Russell Lee Photograph July 1941
Library of Congress

Walt Kik
Present Google Street View

Lybecker's Flat

When I got old enough to shave, 
All I could think about 
Was how to raise wheat, 
Instead of heck. 

But as time passed, 
Even a field of waving grain 
Couldn’t hold my attention 
All of the time. 

Soon, I could hardly wait
Until Sunday came around 
To join the ball team 
That played down in Lybecker’s flat. 

There were girls there, 
Watching us guys play ball. 
I got down there too late 
To join the courting rat-race. 

All the girls were paired off, 
And going steady 
With sprouting future farmers. 

That left me, 
All alone with my Model T, 
A jar of peanut butter, 
And no place to go after the game. 

(from "Restless Days" Kik-Backs, page 2)


Thrashing Days

Those old thrashing days were picturesque. 
As a kid, I would catch a ride with a header box driver, 
then watch my dad punch the header. 
It was magic to watch the cut-out circle get bigger and bigger, 
while in the center, a dome-like stack was getting taller and taller. 

Later, the corners of the fields had to be cut out. 
I marveled at Dad’s skill of turning the header team in the wrong direction, 
so the header would turn in the right direction. 
When things didn't go right, a lot of hollering went on. 

(from "A Comment" Kik-Backs, page 45)


Grand Coulee Dam

The nation was in a heck of a mess. 
Wheat price at the warehouse 
    was only 25¢ a bushel. 
Rumors were out that, 
    a big dam might be built 
North of Wilbur. 

The country was flat on it’s face, so
    planning a dam, as
        big as the Coulee Dam,
Just simply scared the wits, out
    of most people.

A story got out, that
    if they built Coulee Dam,
It could fill up with silt, in
    about a hundred years.

Rumors soon faded, as
    there were just
Piles and piles of
    people, out of work and hungry.

Sheriffs were busy,
    kicking farmers off
        their farms, and
Something had to be done.

Excitement ran high, in

    1934, down at the Coulee. 

Shacks were getting
    nailed together.

People were walking around, in
    all directions,

And the rattlesnakes

    were getting jittery.

(from "C. C. Dill And The Coulee Dam" Kik-Backs, page 83)

Dust Bowl Farmers

With cupboards as bare as their fields,

Most of the dust bowl farmers

Beat it to the apple country,

Where the pickings were better.

When apple picking money

Got into their pockets,

They returned back home,

And started dreaming

Of better farming days. 

(from "One Farmer’s Crisis" Kik-Back Country, page 44)


Last Spring

Last spring, while on a walk, 

Sugar found a strong smelling flower, 

and held it in front of my nose. 

The aroma woke up 

some sleeping memory cells. 

My mind went back 

to when, as a first grader, 

I walked home from school, 

across the pasture. 

While bluebirds were fluttering, 

from one sagebrush to another, 

I remember pulling up, 

that same small weed-like flower, 

for sniffing. 

From "Sounds Of Nature" Kik-Back Country, page 102


Reach Out for Another Day

This fall, nostalgia went through me, 

    while standing, lonely-like, in a field, 

That had been emptied, 

    by combines and trucks. 

A sniff of fall air was drifting, 

    over the stubble field. 

The stinging rays of the sun 

    warmed one side of my body, 

While the north side of my sun-tanned rib cage, 

    felt a little chilly.

All the sensation I got

    out of harvest this year, 

Was a trip to the warehouse office, 

    to see what my share 

Of the crop would amount to. 

Driving past those tall elevators 

    reminded me of by-gone harvest days, 

When I used to take in 

    the last load of wheat for the day. 

Sugar would then 

    scoot on home to slosh herself 

With water by standing 

    under an outdoor shower. 

From there, she had to run 

    into the house 

And get supper on the table. 

It hit me that Sugar 

    will never repeat those 

Many harvest scenes again.

There is no future

     by living in the past, 

But remembering the bygone days, 

    is a blessing, 

We should all be thankful for. 

It gives a person the instinct,

    to reach out for another day, 

To add to his autobiography.

"Senior Citizens" Kick-Back Country, page 93

When Harvest Days Are Over

The month of August brings 

An end to summer. 

The cheerful sounds of youngsters 

As they splash the water’s edge 

Of our many lakes, 

Ends also. 

The smell of fall takes over. 

Fairs throughout the state 

Begin showing off their wares, 

Which include 



And lots and lots of visiting. 

When harvest days are over, 

Time will tell 

Who will be the happy farmers. 

All it takes to reach that goal is:

For the price of wheat 

To go skyward, 

A crop that you couldn’t walk through 

Without cutting a path, and

A wife who thinks 

You are the greatest. 

"Grand Coulee’s Over The Dam Run" Kik-Back Country, page 103


Preparing the Combine for Storage

Properly preparing the combine for storage 

     should become some sort of ritual. 

If done correctly, a feeling of nostalgia 

    will sweep over you. 

Pick a day when the wind is real quiet, 

     and that sun has that stingy, fall feeling 

when it hits the outside of your skin.


Tarry for a bit while looking out 

     over the stubble fields. 

You will then realize 

     your part of the job is done.


Think for another moment, 

     who will eventually eat all that wheat 

out there in those mountains of plastic-covered piles? 

Will it be the Chinese, 

     or a lot of Russians?

(From "Mothballing Combines" Kik-Back Country, page 47)

(And Maybe a $20 Gold Piece)

Even as late as the turn of the century, 

If a guy took a dislike to his job 

(and cried a lot), 

He could walk away from his depression.

He could wander into the fresh air 

(that was used only by a few early day settlers) 

And still find a homestead. 

(The soil that was left was usually on the thin side.)


Yet, if he was lucky enough 

To find a wife, 

To share the joys, 

(and some hardships), 

All he needed, then, 

Was a leather pouch half-filled with silver dollars 

(and maybe a $20 gold piece). 

About the only way this typical couple 

Could have gone broke, was, 

If they did not use their noodles.

(From "Inflation" Kik-Backs, page 41)