Tag Archives: Farm

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

CLEANING THE CALF SHED

CLEANING THE CALF SHED

Forty below outside
not much warmer
on the inside

A hundred little Herefords
dropping and stepping
where it freezes
where it drops

The calves are
four feet closer
to the roof
by April

After the thaw
sitting on the steel seat
of the little orange Allis
with the front end loader

Driving in hard
and pulling
out
fast

Manuria
in one nostril
spring

LONG HOT SASKATCHEWAN SUMMER SHORT POEMS

LONG HOT SASKATCHEWAN SUMMER SHORT POEMS

Hay bales pile
the sun stays to watch
will evening come

_____________________

Plow breaks again
metal too hot to touch
will evening come

_____________________

Girl in summer dress
more heat inside than out
fall is soon coming

_____________________

Beer is all gone
road weaves our way home
morning comes soon

_____________________

Sun rises at four
bones store summer heat
winter days are short

_____________________

Waiting for the crop
rain or hail, God decides
in the pub, politics

_____________________

Stopping for water
dry eyes turn westward
reading the clouds

_____________________

The farmer complains
gratitude too much like pride
outside the rain falls

HOME MADE ICE CREAM

HOME MADE ICE CREAM

When I was five we lived on a ranch
still forty miles and forty years
away from electric power

We only got to eat ice cream
when hail lay deep enough on the ground
to be scooped in the old hand mixer

Many a hot evening in August and July
five of us sat on those hard ranch steps
looking out at the Western sky

Watching the black clouds and the grey
building and rolling our way

Silently praying our protestant hail Marys
four for and Dad against

SHEETS TO THE WIND

SHEETS TO THE WIND

Reminded by Marymae the other day

of Monday’s wash in Tuesday’s wind
and bending sheets to bring them in

It was just enough starch
and thirty degrees below in March

And about how fingers got cold as hell
but I think it was really about the smell

Yes that was the part she wanted to tell
it was really the freshness of that smell

ODE TO THE FARMER

ODE TO THE FARMER
No one will be surprised by the report
that farming is a very dangerous sport

What flapping empty fingered gloves
point back to momentary lapses

What limbs with what power
have been taken off by
power take offs

What tendons snapped like glass
and bones cut clean as grass
by unthinking mowers

And what of those neighbours dead and true
who for a minute forgetting what they knew
through red machines combined
with their grain

And these have earned his dusty tear
and many a “who’s next” fear

Year after year, after year, after year

And yet deep in the soils of time
the seeds of his goodness are growing
While the world turns in slow seasons
And he will be ready
when at last they declare
a true war on poverty
and are willing to bomb with wheat

GROWING STONES

GROWING STONES

Each spring on our farm
the old father sun turned up his warmth and
charm
melting the frost deep in the heart of the mother
earth

The
egg babies
thereby created
rose to the surface
to play in the open air
mischievous miscreants all
waiting to jam dickers and drills
and if they get a little grain to hide in
ambush swathers, combines, and oil pans of
grain trucks

so we had to gather them into
school bus stone boats and wagons and haul
them off to places where they could be with their
older brothers and sisters on the reform school
rock pile

there is still some hope
that someday they can learn to be pillars of the
community