Thursday, June 09, 2005

Kansas

My father looked through the glass and drawled, “Well,
It looks as if though there’ll be rain,”
And I thought, No kidding, the sky is black
Like those nights that used to frighten my little
Self, lit up every so often by camera flash and
Given a soundtrack of the earth mumbling words

Too full of ancient mystery for us to understand, words
That were more like groanings, the earth knowing nothing is well
As long as there are still grief and poverty and
Heartache. But that’s neither here nor there: For now, rain
Is coming and my dad’s just looking out through the little
Slits of his squinted eyes at the deep dark black,

Worried about soil erosion, the once-brown earth going black
With heaven-water coming down to feed it. Words
Can never explain what goes on in my dad’s head—as little
As I know about him, I understand that the well
Of his imagination gets full during storms with worry-rain,
Concerned that he won’t be able to feed his family. And

That’s a noble pursuit, I think, especially for a farmer and
A husband and a father, whose nails are now black
With his vocation, from bruises and dirt that rain
Could never wash from his hands or his memory, his words
Always being tinged with them, of course. And, well,
I guess it’s worse now that he’s paid so little

For his crops--big companies care pretty little
For the personal lives of farmers, as long as they grow and
Produce decent merchandise to stuff their pockets well.
Not exactly fair, but subsidies are fine, but Dad’s mind goes black
With frustration and worry every so often, but never expressing in words
Just what he’s thinking. And the everlasting rain

Of common grace comes down outside our window, rain
Spattering the window, giving water and wet to the little
Wheat sprouts outside, telling my dad in its liquid words
That there’s nothing much he can do except wait and
Watch for the deep rich musk of that black
To give up its harvest—all shall be well

And all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
So now I shrink up little beneath his arm, no words
To say, and watch the black clouds pour out their load of rain.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Jeffrey said...

Bravo!

June 13, 2005 at 12:32 AM  

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