Sunday, August 28, 2011



In the ruining field a universe of sound
crowds the flying air with yellow spitting teeth
and rust-hued cob splinters above the golden husky
broken dangerous stalks, half gone and gorgeous against

a slate gray storm blue huge harvesting sky or hacked,
masticated down to the black swallowing earth.  Sound
grinds the body and bones of the young mother, tears her
into smaller pieces that air can carry to other places,

out onto the roof of the barn, down into the pummeling ground,
up to where the gold-laden slivering air is sweet.
The farmer wants to take the woman’s child, eager,
into the stomach of the roar where sound changes

to pure feeling, but she imagines his sudden red
impossible scream, arms breaking the air to speak
want, the horrible silence of it all.

first published in The Spoon River Poetry Review, Volume XX, Number 1, Winter/Spring 1995

Thanks to Wikimedia and Herry Lawford for this photo of  a New Holland combine at work near Stoneleigh, UK.  In real life, of course, it was a big green local John Deere combine harvester, but I love the sky and the stuff in the air in this photo.

Relates to yesterday’s post, and the day before.


Maureen said...

Wonderful poem!

Kathleen said...

Thanks so much, Maureen!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Amazing poem, Kathleen. The heaps of description make the whole thing that much more intense. Wow.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Sandy. I know you've heard that crunching universe of sound, too.

Dale said...

Whew. The peaceful occupation of farming, indeed!

Kathleen said...

Sometimes it's peaceful! Thanks, Dale.