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

GOOD FENCES MAKE GOOD MEMORIES

GOOD FENCES MAKE GOOD MEMORIES

Slow driving west
down Saskatchewan 363

Paved now
but mud and gravel
fifty years ago when dad
came over from the home place
to help me build fourteen miles of fence

Half a mile from the old Fort Walsh trail
where the Mounties hauled supplies
for a starving Sitting Bull

A lot of history
and a damn good fence
still standing, still stretching
like time, and our time together

Smooth and endless
over the soft rolling hills

From this distance you can’t see
the barbs in the wire

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

WORKING WITH FATHER

WORKING WITH FATHER

In the short days of a long winter
we sort nuts, bolts, and washers
against the busy days of summer

Place them in well marded bins
accompanied always by his mentor’s
Never waste five dollars worth of time
looking for a five cent bolt

The 9/16th fine-threads do not go in
with the regular or coarse

When you’re four
it’s not hard to get up
at four to ride in the cattle
truck to the city with your dad
excitement keeps you awake all night

There are knots you need to know
reef, sheepshank, and the ever
popular bowline that can still
be undone even after looping
a red bull weighing a ton

Hook the twine around your
little finger just son, in a way
that I could never get,
three turns and knot
the gunny sack
in two seconds
flat

Heel that calf, or turn the herd
drive the truck at the perfect speed
to catch the combine
on the fly

There is a great deal of pleasure in
doing something right, when right
is the only way anything should
ever be done

But never far, even yet
from the red-black cloud
of doing it wrong

CLOUD PLOWED FIELDS

CLOUD PLOWED FIELDS

I hear that line at an Austin open mic.
and I want it – actually I want it back
this is my line, how did he find it first

In any case – I hear the line, and Bam!
I am back in a cloud scudding sun baking
Saskatchewan summerfallow summer

Black lands between the glowing gold
John Deere with its hard iron hooves
ripping up the roots and seeds
of the flowers no-one wanted
call them weeds

Sometimes cutting worms in half
I hear that they grow back

While the little poet sits
by the caragana hedge
choking on the flowers
no-one wanted

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