Duane L. Herrmann – Four Poems

Plowing Lesson

I was fourteen
just learning to farm –
my first plowing lesson,
driving a tractor
only the summer before.
Father examined my effort:
“Plow to the edge of the field
then raise the plow to turn.”
So I did
and swiped the only tree –
front axel bent:
tires angled to a V.
Thoughtful, my father looked
and swiped again the tree –
re-bending the axel
Then he left me
to finish plowing the field!

Testing The Tree

Sixteen year old
farm boy
wanted to see
if tractor and he
were stronger
than a tree.
It was a small tree
only twenty feet
and half a foot
Up and up and up
he went.
When front axel
began to jump
off the trunk,
the boy backed down
the tree was stronger.

Decades later,
a friend remarked:
“God let you live
in hope
that one day
you wouldn’t be

Maybe, she was right.

The Challenge Of The Bridge

Driving down the hill
on a rutty gravel road
to antiquated bridge,
one lane,
angled to the road,
gaining too much speed –
too fast to turn
onto the bridge –
crash and drowning loomed.
One last hope:
hit a rut just right
to throw the car
onto the bridge.


Improbable success:
car coasted across,
teenage boy would live
to be useful.

Road Game

Crazy teenage boys
playing chicken,
on adrenalin,
late one night:
cars full of friends,
girls screaming,
on curvy hilly
country roads,
up to
one hundred ten
no lights appeared
from either direction.
All lived.
One wised up
play that game again.

Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty is as necessary as food. Beauty IS food for the heart and soul. Only humans are able to create and appreciate Beauty. That is one part of the image of our Creator that we all carry. In much of life, though, Beauty is stamped out. That is a crime against our human nature.

The ability to create and appreciate Beauty sets humans apart from animals. Some animals can create what we might consider Beauty, but animals don’t gather to look at a colorful sunset, for example. They don’t even notice the beauty of a colorful sunset.

To create Beauty from the pain, chaos and disorder of our lives is a high accomplishment that transcends our physical limitations. It demonstrates that we are capable of transcendence. It demonstrates our spiritual nature. If we can transcend the physical and material, we can strengthen our moral and spiritual attributes and become more fully human. People do this every day in their lives and actions.

The creation of beauty is an act of worship and praise of our Creator who created the beauty of the universe all around us. In the image of our Creator, we also create. Beauty can be manifest in many different ways: sounds, sights, actions, arrangements of words. The examples of Beauty are endless.

And, with Beauty around us, we are happier beings. Beauty feeds our heart and soul. Beauty is as essential to human life as breathing!

Duane L Herrmann is published in Midwest Quarterly, Little Balkans Review, Flint Hills Review, Manifest West, Inscape and others in print and online, in this country and elsewhere. His work has received the Robert Hayden Poetry Fellowship, Ferguson Kansas History Book Award and others. More at: dlherrmann.wix.com/home.