Wikimedia Commons

'Song for Yancey Red Corn,' a Poem by Melissa Fry Beasley for National Poetry Month

Melissa Fry Beasley
April 08, 2013

What's in a name? For many American Indians, quite a bit -- nouns, verbs and adjectives. Animals, landscapes, stories and food. For a poet, the language encoded into names is ready imagery, a suggestion that can't be ignored. Here, Melissa Fry Beasley embraces the poetic possibilities of a real person's real name.


I peeled back
your green husks
& silken threads
found ruby kernels
buried like treasure beneath
You came strong
like a June dream
in a hot Pawhuska sun
There is power in words
and I have been singing your song
The old people
say if you love a man
you must make an offering
then release him four times to
the winds and see if he is brought back
When he lands
in your heart like pollen
you must pray that his spirit
was meant to return to you like rain
so that you will be allowed to soak him in
I peeled back
your green husks
& silken threads
found ruby kernels
buried like treasure beneath

Melissa Fry Beasley is a Cherokee Poet and Artist from Oklahoma. She is proud to have red dirt running through her veins. You can find her work in print and online. She has a blog at



Amit Herlekar's picture
Amit Herlekar
Submitted by Amit Herlekar on

Very nicely composed. This has all the potential to be a country love song. I could feel the emotions as I read it. Keep it up.

william's picture
Submitted by william on


Frank G. Poe, Jr.'s picture
Frank G. Poe, Jr.
Submitted by Frank G. Poe, Jr. on

Her poetry is strong and colorful like our Native American cultures. It is no wonder why she won The Political Poet Poetry Contest for 2013.

Jimmy Peters's picture
Jimmy Peters
Submitted by Jimmy Peters on

I have heard this girl perform her poetry live. I am older than she is but I like her. I know she does alot of work around here with our kids and elders. I think she is talented and smart, a good lookin girl to. The best thing we can figure about her though is her heart. She is not like most other people and she seems to stand out. She carries her light with her.

Brady Lee Hess's picture
Brady Lee Hess
Submitted by Brady Lee Hess on

That is a beautiful poem, Melissa. I like the idea of the woman not being so possessive and coercive over the man. That is truly a noble attitude. Wise old Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 7:26 "And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her." You are clearly not one of those types. You have the wisdom of Solomon. It is refreshing to me to hear about a woman who is not just another gold digging feminist bigot as seems to be the ongoing fad in this nation. But you are from another nation. I wish you were my lover!

Bob Joseph's picture
Bob Joseph
Submitted by Bob Joseph on

Great poem Melissa Fry Beasley. Thanks for sharing and thanks to Indian Country Today. Bob Joseph, President, Indigenous Corporate Training Inc.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on

Great Poem Melissa Fry Beasley. Thanks for sharing and thanks to Indian Country today for sharing. Bob Joseph Indigenous Corporate Training Inc.

D.L. Lang's picture
D.L. Lang
Submitted by D.L. Lang on

I love it. Beautiful poem. Powerful imagery. I love the exploration of "what's in a name" and the amazing wisdom imparted of having the courage to let someone go with the faith of knowing if it is true they will return.

Chair David Laughing Horse Robinson's picture
Chair David Lau...
Submitted by Chair David Lau... on

Melissa uses her words like the drops of a rainbow. Heart is what it takes to be great and she has tons of heart and that makes her Awesome Great!!!!