A Man Who
Comes To Terms With Earth

A man who comes to terms
with earth
needs more a dirge
than praise. Credos fester
on his tongue; he spits
a bitter, creamy phlegm,
his shield that carries
an arm. With
contempt for the time
of day, he shuts his eye
to rock and weed
he needs an unclosed
eye to see.

Sing the plowman
sunk to his knees in earth;
his back is forged,
an arch around the sun.
Yet he walks
a furrowed path
because the way is clear
on dusty fields
gutted in his name.
If he plowed an acre
of his heart,
found no terms with earth,
would the singing
know his name?

I too have plowed
a moist, rock-ridden terrain.
Once I gave up
the plow
I took a fallow field instead
for what I might have given
seed. There is no
harvest now.

A farmer walks unschooled
among the rich,
wears a suit to beg
an air of gentry in the town,
I ask him why he drags
his plow, what he knows
of earth. For mine was
but a blunt and angry blade
that broke to rust
like April in her tomb
of clay.

(from the book "Bones to Bury")