Farming Poems: 64 / 500

Eugene's Old Grey Mule

Rating: 5.0

Mostly he just stood there
Next to the fence
Looking at what,
We knew not
Eyes were closed
As he dosed.

Sometimes he shifted
His weight from three legs
To another three
Putting a hind leg in place
Of the one he raised
And maybe his head
Was too much to bear
So it hung down
In apparent despair.

But the Old Grey Mule
Was a testament
To times gone past
When farming was for
Survival to the last.
When the rows of
Of cotton or corn seemed endless
As the Old Grey Mule
Pulled the buster
Down the middle.

With progress
If you can call it that
Eugene had a tractor
And equipment to match.
He had no need
For the Old Grey Mule
Who had no place
In the modern world
Of a fast pace.

But Eugene kept him
As a reminder of times
Long ago
When feeding the family
Seemed so
Difficult as there were
Many mouths to feed
Not just the ones of
His own family breed.

But neighbors also,
When the times were rough
All hoed the row, freeing the
Crops of weeds; mighty tough.
And when layby time finally came
There was a pause in the routine
That to all seemed the same.

And the Old Grey Mule
Could stand alone by the gate
Hoping for a nubbing
Or something else to eat.

Whether he sensed
That in the Fall
He'd not get
Eugene's call
Was known only
To him who stood
In the shade waiting.

As others returned
To the fields
To save the crops
After the corn ears drooped
And the cotton bolls popped.

Time was when
Back in the field
To pull the wagon
With faithful companion
Of many an eon
(She'd gone the way
That all critters do
And her bones lay
In the gully scattered ado.)

But now the rumble of the tractors
With diesel smoke aplenty
Easily did the job
That once required many
The wagons filled
With fluffy cotton
Captured from hanging open burrs
And no one seemed to understand
What a blessing harvest is
Saving the crop
From waste and distress.

So the Old Grey Mule stood
Never blinking an eye
As storm clouds
Gathered in the evening sky
And in the morning
When the terror had past
The Old Grey Mule
Was found lying
There in the grass
Having given a final sigh
As he passed away
With nothing to comment on
Or to say.

But Eugene knows that surely
As the Old Grey Mule died
The same fate is due us all
Who pass this way.

And the Old Grey Mule
is a reminder
That life's for the living -
time to consider.
Take time to stand and
gaze into the near pasture
For soon it will be home
For the bones of another.

Bri Edwards 23 May 2014

i found this poem while searching for a ph friend named eugene. i enjoyed the poem very much. i always appreciate fine rhyming and good story-telling. thanks for sharing. bri :) it's tempting to add it to MyPoemLIst. well, why not? it's free to you and me. :) p.s. i read the other comment. i was looking at a horse in a pasture this past year while taking walks in the country. several times i wondered how old it was [it truly is kind of grey, but DEFINITELY not a mare]. i watched it shift it weight from leg to leg and move more slowly (if at all) than the younger-appearing horse nearby. i even thought to myself might it be better to shoot it? , but who may just be enjoying itself.

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O Anna Niemus 08 July 2008

the abuse of animals kidnapped for lives of slavery and then slaughter is virtually infinite these animals are often lonely... confined to stalls when not working God bless them all and God bless you for this poem

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