"The Poetry of Walt Kik"

Enjoy Harvest

When the recent clouds
Moved in and
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.

            -Walt Kik 

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. 

           -Walt Kik 

            (from "No Greater Tranquility for an Insomniac")


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.

            -Walt Kik

             (from "Drooling Would Begin")


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. 

            -Walt Kik

             (from "Sentimentally Cracks Me Up") 


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. 

            -Walt Kik
            (from "Maiden Voyage to the Dance Floor")


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. 


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. 


Grand Coulee Dam

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.

                        -Walt Kik