Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hay for the Horses



He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous Mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,
---The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds---
"I'm sixty-eight" he said,
"I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that's just what
I've gone and done."

–Gary Snyder


Friday, August 13, 2010


Today you would be ninety-seven
if you had lived, and we would all be

miserable, you and your children,

driving from clinic to clinic,

an ancient fearful hypochondriac

and his fretful son and daughter,

asking directions, trying to read

the complicated, fading map of cures.

But with your dignity intact
you have been gone for twenty years,

and I am glad for all of us, although

I miss you every day—the heartbeat

under your necktie, the hand cupped

on the back of my neck, Old Spice

in the air, your voice delighted with stories.

On this day each year you loved to relate
that the moment of your birth

your mother glanced out the window

and saw lilacs in bloom. Well, today

lilacs are blooming in side yards

all over Iowa, still welcoming you.

~ Ted Kooser



Friday, August 6, 2010

one more day


It is almost Spring again.

At the wood's edge the redbird
sings his happiest note: sweet,
sweet, sweet, sweet.

And you who have left this
world forever have been gone
one more day.

–Wendell Berry

Wendy Vaugn