The farmer writes poems, the poet farms


Old plow close up. Photo: Andrew Fogg via Creative Commons.



Behold this hardscrabble farm

long devoid of cows

its puzzle piece fields

locking in islands of rock,

like the St. Lawrence,

my brother observed recently,

with fields for water.


See these particular fields

still hayed every summer

for how much longer

Lord knows.

On this day in mid March

look at the way

the last snow limns

each dead furrow

all of them dead straight

and parallel, pillowing

gently the narrow brown

lanes of sod

like a down comforter

with white lines of stitches.


Old Wilson Stevenson

loved horses, they say,

and staring out the window

this March morning 53 years

after his death at 90

how clearly it still shows

that he knew how to plow

and took pride in plowing well.


What more of a legacy

could a man want—

work well done

name forgotten

overgrown pastures closing in

on your performance

returning without applause

to trees?



John Scarlett

Little Tree Farm

Rossie, NY

March 13, 2013

(Printed with permission from the author.)

Beginning of sugaring season. Photo: John Scarlett.

  1. Mr. Wakiki says:


    tom tom music
    in the background

    i would like it to be
    to a reggae beat

    dressed in leather
    —buck skin
    slipping into your

    writing the fable
    where you rub
    the bare skin with

    a cook fire reduced
    to glowing coals

    and your kiss
    i would like it to be

  2. jillvaughan says:

    amazing poem.

  3. i was right there, here; thanks, john.

  4. Jon Montan says: