Begin Again by Nancy Hubble

cover 2The theme for this year's One City One Prompt is "Begin Again," inspired by a poem by Kansas poet, writer and artist Nancy Hubble. Nancy is a long-time generous and guiding spirit for many writers and artists in her hometown of Lawrence, KS. Here is her poem, which was also the title poem for Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems edited by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg (Woodley Press, 2011). To participate in One City One Prompt — facilitating your own writing, songwriting, singing, storytelling, spoken word or other kind of event on the theme of "Begin Again" — please contact Deb Hensley, coordinator of the TLA Network, at


Begin Again28470_401437867683_4305706_n


Go back and do it again,

my father told me.

And I would lift up my hoe,

dragging my feet through

the dusty rows

of beans and a few weeds

to start the first row

I started an hour ago.

Lifting the hoe for the first pull,

dragging dirt around the plant,

kachunk – flicking out a weed.

The rhythm of pulling in,

the dance of flicking out.

Beginning from the right,

I would fall into the dream


See the hills: watch the horses

beginning from the right come in

and make a straight line

tied to the leather rope

strung between two trees.

The women walk behind,

carrying bundles and babies.

The men stand and wait, watching carefully

and the children run among each other like little goats.

The soft eyes of the young women watch

the unmarried boys

begin again.


Mother said this needs more work.

Go back and do it again.

And I would put each dish

back into the pan,

filled again,

scrubbing each dish.

The rhythm of circling in,

the dance of circling out.

Beginning from the left,

I would fall into the dream.


See the road: watch the cars

beginning from the left come in

and make a circle,

headlights pointed inward

against the coming dark.

Women carry pans and dishes

to the tablecloths spread in the field.

The men carry babies, drums and rattles.

The children who can, run

against each other like little bulls.

The soft eyes of the young women watch

the unmarried boys

and begin again.


My father's garden grows enough

for the critters, neighbors and for our family.

He said, if it doesn't come up,

go back and plant again.

And I would find the place

where crow had danced,

where mole worked his blankness, and

the bug children had eaten

more than their share.

The rhythm of planting again,

the singing in empty places.

Beginning from the center,

I would fall into the dream


See the storm: watch the water

beginning from the center, come in

and fill the wetlands,

rush the ditches.  

Bloom the flowers.

The birds fly through us,

standing on the walkways.

The water changes colors

as we pass through,

while the children expand like popcorn

with the beauty.

And the questions find answers.

Living we go back.

Learning, we come forward.

Our return is our prayer.

We began again.


~ Nancy Hubble


This entry was posted in Begin Again, Life story, Nancy Hubble, One City One Prompt, Social Change, Spirituality, Woodley Press, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *