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Of Old Men and Newborns



By David Dyer



Turnin’ furrows,

‘cross hillside’s declivitous face;

shallow furrows,

wretched soil an’ rock displace.

Turnin’ furrows,

‘hind old mule’s deliberate pace;

shallow furrows,

feckless till o’ penury’s mace.

Pausin’ nigh noontide, ‘midst torrid spray,

‘pon plough handle’s smoothened curve,

callused hand doth stay;

Whilst thongs o’ leather, ‘n lassitude sway,

‘bout neck gilt o’ dust, broiled crimson,

‘neath sun's rissolé.

Blurred eyes grey o’ hue, ‘n piteous assay;

‘n sad resignation, yield life’s deposition,

‘n heartache’s dismay;

Cast ‘cross yon valley, fertility’s bouquet,

ebon soil’s lush furrows, turned ‘n ease,

half an acre a day.

Turnin’ furrows,

‘n yearn o’ more bountiful place;

shallow furrows,

tales o’ lifetime ne’er shall erase.

Turnin’ furrows,

misery an’ custom’s interlace;

shallow furrows,

entreat o’ God’s mercy an’ grace.

‘N bibbed overalls, muscled flank’s display,

brogans embed ‘n newly turned mound,

o’ earth’s barren clay;

Hand ‘gainst brow ‘n thrust ’o sweat’s whey,

‘cross disheveled thatch, scragg’ly unkempt;

streak’d silvery grey.

Gazin’ at paltry shack; clapboard ‘n decay,

‘pon porch’s plankin’, at duties astir,

‘tis faithful wife Mae;

Sole dress raggedy o’ time’s wear an’ fray,

‘n poignant memory, o’ life’s drear toils,

an’ dream’s oft betray.

Turnin’ furrows,

aspirations o’ life doth deface;

shallow furrows,

reminisce o’ failure’s embrace.

Turnin’ furrows,

o’er years o’ memories chase;

shallow furrows,

enthrall o’ a taskmaster base.

Memory o’ childhood, ‘n mind’s overlay,

o’ a barefoot lad, awash ‘n his chores,

nary moment o’ play;

Choppin’ o’ firewood at dawn’s first ray,

an’ butter ‘n milk from springhouse bear;

with ne’er a delay.

‘Twas tutorin’ afield, (reads dour dossier)

plod afore papa, ‘hind mule’s even gait,

bust o’ clods alway;

Summertime harvest o’ wild grasses hay;

handin’ off tobacco, ere grade flats lade,

‘pon crude wooden drey.

Turnin’ furrows,

o’ precusor’s footsteps retrace;

shallow furrows,

recollections ne’er can efface.

Turnin’ furrows,

ne’er slacken, e’er keepin’ apace;

shallow furrows,

‘cross another plowman’s space.

O’er lower lip, ambeer stream doth stray,

as ‘mongst milliner’s wares, ‘tis fair bonnet,

wistful eyes survey;

‘Midst nostalgic flood, muse’s sweet ballet,

o’ bashful young groom, ‘side retirin’ bride,

an’ same lilac fillet.

In an eye’s merest glint, sagacity gives way,

to fool’s wisdom; as an offerin’ ‘twill be,

wife’s woes to allay;

‘Tis purloin o’ goods, stow’d ‘n shirt’s caché,

an’ ‘yond shop’s portal, into street’s swarm,

‘tis soul gone astray.

Turnin’ furrows,

‘gainst privation’s rigors to brace:

shallow furrows,

provoke o’ curses an’ lambastes.

Turnin’ furrows,

whilst judicious notions misplace;

shallow furrows,

lifetime’s labor, wro’t ‘n disgrace.

Pursuit o’ pilferer; spawns a fiery affray,

‘n ‘midst o’ contention, a hapless merchant,

the plowman didst slay;

Oft’times, ‘tis death’s voice with the final say;

whensoe’er ‘n haste, sure balance o’ justice,

an errant soul doth weigh.

Widow now forlorn, ‘neath shame’s overlay,

‘n espial o’ her own strapplin’ young lad,

‘pon slope o’ parched brae;

‘Hind sure-footed mule; ‘n thought faraway,

as his papa, an’ his papa’s papa; ploughin’,

genitor’s griefs defray.

Turnin’ furrows,

whilst path o’ forefathers, trace;

shallow furrows,

null bequest o’ plowshare’s glace.

Turnin’ furrows,

specter o’er soul’s somber debase;

shallow furrows,

memories o’ plowmen canst ne’er replace.





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