Tag Archives: Farming

THE FARM, THE RANCH AND THE NEED FOR GOD

THE FARM, THE RANCH
AND THE NEED FOR GOD

Who pray to when the rains don’t come
who forget to thank when they do

Who curse when the John Deere breaks
and the cow jumps over the moon
(by the moon of course I mean
the fence to the alfalfa field)

Who in the long nights pondering
under the stars too cold to be suns
a word big enough for big

THE DAY I SAW THE UFO

THE DAY I SAW THE UFO

I’m sitting
with my back against the tractor tire
eating lunch in the long field by the lake

It flies over
directly South to North
plenty high and far from humanly fast

It is made of a metal that shines out of itself

I rise with a smile
brush the crumbs from my jeans
set my eyes on the furrow
and let out the clutch

THE SHEEP OF HOLLAND

THE SHEEP OF HOLLAND

Sheep soft on the soft wet grass
between our house and the old windmill

Sheep running in the distance
a long row of cotton candy
pulled by an invisible string

March lambs gambolling
on the sides and tops of dikes

The black cloud of hoof and mouth
gathering over England
strikes as we leave

Watching the news in Atlanta
my farmer fear pulls me back

Memory revises

I stand in the bare fields
look at the bare dikes

Taste the burning wool

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

ROUND UP

ROUND UP

It’s about the hardest dustiest best work a man can get

The pride of the heeling rope, thrown snake quick from a
good horse and the slow steady pull, dragging the white face
out where the boys with the hot irons
can record the feat

Three hundred cows sing of calves lost and found, and above
all through it all the full strong laugh of one of the boys,
where a slip was made or a kick well placed

At the end of the day, you wrap a rope sore hand around a
spring cold beer, and lean back against the old pole fence
deep in the pain, and the sweat, and the moment

Completely released from the wheel of desire

There’s no place you’d rather be
There’s no one you’d rather be with
and you’re too damn tired to move anyway

HEREFORDS

HEREFORDS

They’re not as storied as the Texas longhorn
nor as hairy as the Highland creed

And they’re not nearly so sophisticated
as the latest European breed

They sure don’t calf out as easy as Angus
but all around, they’re all you need

(AND THEY’RE PRETTY TOO)

I remember
few things as beautiful
as looking back from the point
and seeing a few hundred Herefords
pouring through a cleft in the hills
down to the home corrals
like a spring flood
red as earth and blood
Rolling with white faced foam

KENNY and ME

KENNY and ME
(or Ranching at Eighteen)
http://www.neilmeili.compost.php?post=203&action=edit#edit_timestamp
Together we were young
and strong and very bold

And together we could drink
more beer than we could hold

We could drive home late and fast
singing every Johnny Horton song

And then fall asleep for minutes
and still answer the morning gong

We would work it out in the hot hot sun
(so easy then did the poisons yield)

As we sweated bales with pith forks
and passed gas
in a thousand acre field