A dirty bib-overalled farmer stands
hat in hand, weeping,
gazing out over the dried up field.
The crops are burnt into oblivion,
along with his hopes, his future, his life.
Salt-lined tears fall,
from his soul to his soil,
this the only moisture
the earth has known in months,
is vaporized into the wind
as quickly, as surely, and as completely
as his defeated dreams.
I stare intensely at this picture
hanging in a dim corner
of an old museum.
I'm overcome with a deep sense of melancholy.
It's been 80 years now,
yet in this picture it is still happening,
always shall happen,
always has happened.
What became of him?
Of the unpainted old house blurred in the background?
Of the shoeless, thin-clothed family
barely holding on within it?
... perhaps like the house, they also
were simply in the long process
of fading away...
I feel certain
that if I could somehow
find that precise field,
and walk to the exact spot
where that farmer in this picture
forever stands, I could there bend low,
kiss his shadow lingering upon the ground,
and still taste the salt
of all the endless, ageless tears
he has spilt over, and into, the land.
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Comments about this poem (The Farmer by Smoky Hoss )
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