04 March 2008
Give me a little time to take what I know
In this day and age Lord
you are like one of those poor farmers
who burns the forests off
and murders his lands and then
can't leave and goes sullen and lean
among the rusting yard junk, the scrub
and the famished stock.
Lord I have felt myself raked
into the earth like manure,
harrowed and plowed under,
but I am still enough like you
to stand on the porch
chewing a stalk or drinking
while tall weeds come up dead
and the house dogs, snapping
their chains like moths, howl
and point towards the withering
meadows at nothing at all.
In winter two kinds of fields on the hills
outside Prosser: fields of new green wheat, the slips
rising overnight out of the plowed ground,
and then rising again, and budding.
Geese love this green wheat.
I ate some of it once too, to see.
And wheat stubble-fields that reach to the river.
These are the fields that have lost everything.
At night they try to recall their youth,
but their breathing is slow and irregular as
their life sinks into dark furrows.
Geese love this shattered wheat also.
They will die for it.
But everything is forgotten, nearly everything,
and soon rather than later, please God--
fathers, friends, they pass
into your life and out again, a few women stay
a while, then go, and the fields
turn their backs, disappear in the rain.
Everything goes, but Prosser.
The axe rings in the wood
and the children come,
laughing and wet from the river;
and all goes as it should.
I hear the murmur and hum
of their morning, forever.
The water ripples and slaps
the white boat at the dock;
the fire crackles and snaps.
The little noise of the clock
goes on and on in my heart,
of my heart parcel and part.
O happy early stir!
A girl comes out on the porch,
and the door slams after her.
She sees the wind in the birch,
and then the running day
catches her into its way.