Tag Archives: Dogs

CHILDREN HAVE

CHILDREN HAVE

Children have a great sense of smell

Maybe that’s why
their diapers make them cry

their first
breast sends them
on a lifelong quest
and a cinnamon bun
can stop us all in the mall

On a farm there’s hay
before it goes into the cow
and hay when it comes out

The pungency of pig, the foul of fowl

Rain before the first drop falls
and the whip of lightning after it cracks

Smoke on dad’s clothes from the prairie fire
snuff from the round box cutting his shirt

The dog, even wet, not diminished in love

If lost in a blizzard, or in the dark
it is always best to let go of the reins
so the horse’s nose can point you home

Lost in the world at four a.m.
twice blessed if yours can do the same

BLUE EYED BOY

BLUE EYED BOY

Blue eyed boy
blasts off from breakfast like a quail on a rail
Collie dog leaps on board
they sail out across the prairie
barely touching the tops of hills

Sun gives warmth or cloud gives shade
all depending on his whim
birds and rocks and swaying grass
everything living embraces him

Burrs don’t stick and thorns don’t prick
fences join in the play
happily turning their barbs away

Floating along on the wings of four
not long now till they’ll slam the door

THRESHING TIME

THRESHING TIME

I remember at Christmas getting a great threshing machine
a block of wood with wooden spools nailed to the side
but I loved it as I loved the threshing

All through the long summer days I would walk
the fields with my dog
At night my mother rubbed strong liniment on four year old
legs: growing pains she said, although one always hurt
more and didn’t seem to grow any faster

And the grain grew too, and passed me, and was higher
than I was. And then the harvest and the wonder of it falling
to the binder and the magic of the machine as it tied the
sheaves and ke-chunked them into the carrier

Then the stoking – little teepees covering the prairie again
and the golden warmth of everything

And the threshing machine; they wouldn’t let me too close;
it might eat me like it ate those sheaves and like the men
in the crew could eat, and they could eat
even when it rained

While I sat for hours nose to wet window
watching the great gray dinosaur
deep in the timeless mists

And hot clear windless days when everything sang and
the belt slapped and the machine came to life again
and wagons were on both sides
and the big horses were standing strong and ready
and switching flies with dignity

The sun caught the arch or the long plume of straw and
the chaff lifting and the old hands fed the machine in a
sort of easy sweat-oiled rhyme (rhythm?) and the new stood
on the sheaves they tried to lift each time

And the old hands laughed, and the new hands laughed
and they were men together

FARM DOG

FARM DOG

My dad doesn’t allow pets in the house
they weren’t allowed in on the farm
where he grew up either

Once when he was eight
the dog came up the stairs

down the hall to the room on the right
where his young mother lay dying

Laid his head for a moment on her lap
and went out again