Wednesday Writing Prompt will return on January 16, 2019.
three cow salute
walking to my high school meant walking past three cows
just as 61st avenue came to its
senses and straightened up
south of bethany home road
and what was then
a bobwire fence held back these bored cows
who stood and chewed or didn’t
and slowly turned
they were the stolid
they were the stupefied
the milkbaggy trio
the watchers of boys and girls
they needed a date with a frisky bull
or maybe they needed nothing
but daily relief from udder strain
and me tweaking their monotony
into near monotony
couldn’t tell you
don’t know why those bored
and boring cows still lease space
in a pasture in my head
the smell of horseshit does nothing for me
the smell of cowshit
has more than once filled
my stupid stolid eyes
with nostalgic tears
who prepare the earth
who plough with a wide furrow to bring water from the river
who plant seeds
who trace the first ploughing, reploughing as first did not work
who carry the grain
who store the grain
who share the grain
who share their good fortune with us, the dead
FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.
The blue sky smelled of manure. Even the allure of coffee and raw milk, homemade bread with rhubarb jam and omelets plucked from their mother just that morning couldn’t overcome the scent that distinctly said, “You’re on a working farm.”
The distinct sound of a tractor pulled up to the farmhouse door. The farmer offered us a hay ride around the farm and explained the difference between hay and straw, silo versus barn. The farmer named each machine and it’s purpose, but not the animals.
That night, I briefly wondered if the chicken that gave her life for our pot pie dinner also sacrificed her progeny for our breakfast. And if the rooster that would wake us in the morning, knew what happened to his family.
Plastic and foam trays
Deception and protection
Farmers eat the truth
Yes, that’s me on a tractor – picture courtesy of one of my sorority sisters who posted some “throwback pictures” of a reunion we had a bed and breakfast in the Pennsylvania countryside a few years after we graduated college. I don’t think the tractor was actually moving for the picture, but it was a first for this city girl!
Coincidentally, Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing prompt requested: This week share poem/s out of your own nostalgia, experience, impressions, gratitude, concerns, or convictions about farms, farming, or farm policy. Despite now living in “farm country”, I still don’t know about farming although I do appreciate the numerous farmers markets in our area.
One thing I do know: I am very appreciative of the men and women who work on farms because I know I don’t have the constitution or inclination to grow things or kill things to eat. Maybe because living in cities, I was never exposed to that reality and thus my aversion to being close to the true source of what I/we eat. Food came in a package and didn’t have faces. Maybe if more people were aware of the reality of farming, there would be less food waste and a better understanding of the need to conserve and protect the environment/nature and animals as finite resources. But what do I know…I’m just a city girl…
When Dad barked
You hopped to it,
Let’s go! In the car!
He loved the country.
One day, he said,
I’m moving to some
Got my love of trees,
And the smell of grass
Let’s go pick strawberries.
Get some fresh picked apples,
Some corn, if it’s ready,
Right from the field.
He always took the
On our way to
Where he wanted
Where he was
Some secret desire,
Some past life,
Taking him home….
Hefting water out of the river to
feed the newly-planted.Long years since I
had to do the same on Uncle’s farm:enamel
white bucket hung from a windlass,sweet
water drawn from deep. I could lift but half
a pailful then. Brothers, neighbour’s girls,
rudimentary washes after endless
play; earth closet in the yard, potatoes,
their skins slowly curling in the cauldron
on the hearth.Somewhere a clock. Bored one day,
I stood beside the well and bawled for help.
Dad came running and rough chastisement
was love’s affirmation.
Brief check before I
swooshed down the hay bales in the barn, guiltless
until the straws in my hair betrayed me.
The years have added muscle, as I bend
and dip and lift from the grateful water,
remembering my boyhood’s guilty smile.
The dark cloud squats heavily on the horizon
Undecided whether to drift slowly
Over our dusty fields with its fat bladder
Full of drought quenching rains
Or to drift up the coast a ways
To quench the thirst of our enemy’s fields.
O Lord, I know it makes no difference
In the grand scheme of things,
But I can’t help the fact
It would make all the difference in the world
The dead don’t envy the living
Any more than the living envy the dead.
Who’s to say what’s the best state
For matter to be in
In the long run?
I would think the best,
For one above ground,
Is to make the most of what you are
And, for those below,
To make the least.