Robert Kirkland Kernighan
The Hired Man - Poem by Robert Kirkland Kernighan
He upward looks upon the sea-deep
Liquid of the splendid sky ;
He sees the cattle standing knee-deep
'Neath the sheltering cedars high.
A beast of burden, yonder he
Can hear an insect chirp with glee,
While in the twenty-acre field,
Without a shelter or a shield,
See him through the tall wheat swing.
He envies every little bug
Beneath the cool and grassy rug :
The beast afield, the bird awing
He envies every creeping thing.
Why? Because that in the splendor
Of the torrid noontide high
They can seek the cool ways tender,
And hide away till night is nigh ;
And thus escaping from the noon,
Come forth to wonder at the moon ;
And to their little neighbors call,
When the eastward shadows fall.
Thus in the night-time calm and late,
Among the moss and grass and leaves,
With thoughtfulness each bosom heaves,
And every little heart elate,
Chirrups softly God is Great !
He has n't time among the stubble,
Or on the parched and burning sod,
To harken to the brooklet's babble,
Or lift his old straw hat to God.
If Christ was preaching somewhere near,
He couldn 't spare an hour to hear !
His little joys are somewhat rare :
The summer circus and the fair.
He pitchforks life aside for food ;
A slaving, tired and humble elf,
He weds a worker like himself.
Their creed is easy understood,
That God, tho' very great is good.
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