Published on Academy of American Poets (

Detail of the Hayfield

I followed myself for a long while, deep into the field.
Two heads full of garbage.

Our scope was larger than I realized,
which only made me that much more responsible.

Yellow, yellow, gold, and ocher.
We stopped. We held the field. We stood very still.

Everyone needs a place.

You need it for the moment you need it, then you bless it—
thank you soup, thank you flashlight

and move on. Who does this? No one.


Copyright © 2013 by Richard Siken. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on February 8, 2013. Browse the Poem-a-Day archive.

About this Poem

"My new manuscript includes several long 'landscape' poems that move forward with rhetorical and meditative gestures. I wanted to inhabit these locations in a personal way as well. It didn't work inside the poems—they became muddy and confusing, with conflated speakers and tones. The 'detail' poems offered a way to revisit the landscapes with an inside view, rather than the overview. 'Detail of the Hayfield' is a companion piece to a longer poem, 'Gold Landscape with a Blur of Conquerors.'"
—Richard Siken


Richard Siken

Richard Siken is the author of War of the Foxes (Copper Canyon Press, 2015) and Crush (Yale University Press, 2006), which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award in 2004.

Date Published: 2013-02-08

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