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Get ready to hear from northern Illinois’ “prose pros." Poetically Yours airs Fridays during Here and Now at 12:31 and All Things Considered at 6:18 p.m. Hosted by WNIJ Arts Reporter Yvonne Boose, you will hear voices from northern Illinois poets as they share their words about the world around them. This weekly segment will give you a moment of pause and reflection as your wind down the week. If you would like to submit a poem for consideration, please send submissions to yboose@niu.edu

Poetically Yours Ep. 69 - The prairie is in the news

Bell Bowl Prairie
Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
Bell Bowl Prairie Outside of the Chicago Rockford International Airport

Welcome to this week’s Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week features Judy Cummings.

Cummings lives in Loves Park, Illinois. She’s taught high school English and creative writing and developed a family literacy program for a refugee resettlement center. She also worked as an editor all while raising a family. After moving to Rockford, she continued to teach English as a second language at Rock Valley College and worked as a reading specialist at Spectrum Progressive School. Her abiding love for the natural world is her inspiration for reading, writing, and teaching poetry. She deeply treasures the northern Illinois' prairie ecosystem and hopes that mankind will take the necessary steps to ensure the survival of all remaining species.

Cummings said she wants so many things to be right in the world today. She’s hoping that this poem can help readers focus on something greater than themselves and to look upward towards the Creator. It’s entitled “The Call.”

We don't know

what we don't know

so, we cower

in safe spaces

inside manicured minds,

and landscaped hearts

But what of the prairie?

A patchwork wild:

Unyielding yarrow,

Bunching Bluestem,

Blazing stars.

We're suspicious

of wild space:

Prairies, rainforests,

mangroves, jungles...

What lies lurking?

What might devour us?

Yet why not rest

in life's rumblings?

Why not enter the mystery?

Watch a rusty-patched bumblebee

cozy into the cosmos

Hear a sand hill crane

cross the cloud-dotted expanse




Prepare ye the way.”

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.