Padraic Colum

(8 December 1881 – 11 January 1972 / County Longford)

The Plougher

Poem by Padraic Colum

Sunset and silence! A man: around him earth savage, earth broken;
Beside him two horses -- a plough!
Earth savage, earth broken, the brutes, the dawn man there in the sunset,
And the Plough that is twin to the Sword, that is founder of cities!
"Brute-tamer, plough-maker, earth-breaker! Can'st hear? There are ages
between us.
Is it praying you are as you stand there alone in the sunset?
"Surely our sky-born gods can be naught to you, earth child and earth
Surely your thoughts are of Pan, or of Wotan, or Dana?
"Yet why give thoughts to the gods? Has Pan led your brutes where they
Has Dana numbed pain of the child-bed, or Wotan put hands to your plough?
"What matter your foolish reply! O man, standing lone and bowed earthward,
Your task is a day near its close. Give thanks to the night-given God."
.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Slowly the darkness falls, the broken lands blend with the savage;
The brute-tamer stands by the brutes, a head's breadth only above them.
A head's breadth? Ay, but therein is hell's depth, and the height up to
And the thrones of the gods and their halls, their chariots, purples, and

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Read poems about / on: sunset, thanks, child, silence, heaven, pain, alone, sky, god, night, horse, children, city

Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004