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harvestjh | Poem



Into the musty muck of the earth, into the rich black deposits along the broad banks
Each Spring flooding floods the tilled sad land to the step of the plain plank house
Where the blue ticks dream treed 'coons 'neath a spanish moss moon and the night
Threatening rain, yes, rain again, more rain to inundate winter
Remembered like townfolk to Noah, to cleanse the wan world of its bright blankets,
To abrogate arrogant dams, make beaver and carp and cat brothers
On the same slick ample bar after withdrawal, the limp sodden soil
Ready for ravishing. And the moon is right for it. Under the moon, into the soul
Of the farmer destiny creeps scattering the fear of poor harvest before it.
And it is the farmer, this farmer, before breakfast and sunlight who cranks
Up the old tractor to hear its low loyal murmur, companion to quiet
On those long straight lines that stretch from horizon into horizon.
And in the farmer's hand is the coffee thick as blood that he drinks
To wake from all wintry slumbers, to shed that worrisome weight
Of will there be rain again, will I survive to see Spring again,
Do I dare plant again, will I have strength to plant in this dirt.
The succession is mine, he says without thinking; I choose the crops,
I do--The lush good of my neighbors and that of strangers in far away cities craving my wheat
And even their city is mine, full of my groceries, greens and ripe corn,
Red fruit to fatten the herd of 'em skinnied by winter's lack of good pasture.
Their destiny mine; Their welfare is mine to do
As I will with; The seed in my hand is their seed

She will pray Sunday with her sisters that this madness of Spring passes
Soon she will pray that unlike the sow and the heifer Spring will pass soon
Without she herself forfeit to Spring's fondness for corpulent plenty.
She rinses her hands and wrings them dry as the wash in her apron
And smiles at the sound of machines that woolies home from the barn.
And she hurries a genial platter of eggs, biscuits, and bacon to her man in the barn
Where he hangs from the rafter, blue face
grinning wide as the day they met at the dance.
"She's no longer twenty, no frisky Spring hen";  "she's too many children";
"all and each of them young."

- John Horváth Jr

to Moongate

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