Things the Flood Taught
the Kansas Hermit
by Thomas D. Reynolds

The world will end neither by fire nor ice
but by sliding away in a swirl of tangled limbs.

How Noah felt from the upper window of the ark
as the rocky crags of the tallest mountains disappeared.

When all memory of his beloved prairie can vanish
beneath rising foam crests, what chance does his stand?

One day all those possessions people covet
will spin away and sink beneath the waves.

To isolate oneself away from towns and farms is one thing
but to be stranded on a wooded hill without choice is another.

That drifting cottonwood trunk would make a sturdy skiff,
if one were of a mind to see life beyond these hills.


Thomas D. Reynolds teaches at Johnson County Community College
in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and
online journals, including
New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review,
Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, The MacGuffin, Midwest
Poetry Review
, and The Pedestal Magazine.

On “Things the Flood Taught the Kansas Hermit”:  
This poem is one of
a series of poems about the title character, an individual who became
disillusioned with society (such as it was in turn-of-the-century
Kansas) and walked into the hills of eastern Kansas, building a cabin
and living off the land. All of the poems are in his voice, as he
describes his philosophy and situations he encounters. Perhaps he is
my alter ego, especially on days when life is difficult and I dream of
becoming an exile, if only for a short time. Two poems in the series,
which I hope to develop into a chapbook, have been published online:
“Mental Notes of a Kansas Hermit,” published at
in May 2004, and “The Day I Became an Exile,” published at in November 2004.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 1, Number 1
(Spring 2006)

Copyright © 2006
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.