Smoky Hoss

(01 may 1962 / U.S.A.)

The Farmer


The picture,1934.
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.

Submitted: Saturday, March 30, 2013
Edited: Saturday, March 30, 2013

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  • Joseph Anderson (4/20/2013 9:32:00 AM)

    A brillant portrayal of the dust bowl, depression era of the 30's. It could have beeb my
    father. Yes, it is still affecting some of today.s farmers. Moving, poignant and very touching (Report) Reply

  • Juan Olivarez (4/9/2013 8:55:00 AM)

    Full of pathos this read is melancholy throughout and grabs at your heart. Farmers are the heart of America and always will be. Great poem Smoky. (Report) Reply

  • Gayle Sweeney (4/6/2013 6:45:00 AM)

    Wow Smokey... You know I love your poems and this one is just a lovely piece.......The imagery is beauitful....I do family history and come from a long line of farmers here and in Ireland too......You are speaking for thier memory.... (Report) Reply

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