The sheaves had been stooked by hand,

Grain cut, to keep lolling heads fresh for threshing,

Wheat, barley, and oats.


And I came here to rest,

Having left the manicured gardens,

Where I served my apprenticeship.


And I am here before the machines,

And their hunger,

Separating seed from stalk and husk.


I apprenticed – often weeping – under a damson tree,

And felt, each day, the morning,

As it broke into being in fitful tremors.


And now I kneel,

And though the soil is summer dry,

I am drinking river blood.


I came here to remember, but am unreconciled.

I am unrepentant, and find kinship only among the dead,

Among wheat, barley, and oats.


And today I spit memories of time-lambasted song,

And I howl at time, and its goliath, mesmeric faith,

Here, near the roadside, where labourers till the land.