The Man Who Tilled The Land Is Gone...A Poem



The man who tilled the land is gone.

Grass will not be cut and baled in hay.

Corn is left unsown in tall and stately rows.

The cows that ate the corn and hay replaced

by crowding houses in the spacious field

atop the graceful knoll where once the cherry bloomed

on buried bones, white and pink in spring,

long forgotten from an ancient tomb.


Crows, displaced, still fly and hoarsely cry

at what has come to pass.

Jays will flash with blue-barred light

through trees in feisty, chattered flight

to feeders filled, in close-packed yards,

with hard-hulled seeds they crack and split,

or gulp in hasty greed, disgorged

at distant storage sites. The clouds,

those epic clouds, will still blow by

to dapple land and homes with sun and shade,

release cascades of rain in spring,

drifts of snow when that soft time has gone.


Maples, old or newly grown, will still

one day majestic be, full-bodied, tall,

that safely greet the month of May

with tender buds that burst from red

to cleanest, youthful, yellow-green,

brighten every heart that spring has truly come.

Then grow in graceful three-point form,

made leather-stiff, September-hard

by humid summer heat and storm,

time's passing toll on youth and grace.

Then one last brilliant, flaming cry,

enough to break your broken heart,

of wondrous, puzzling, tragic life.


Winter's wind then once more given voice

by naked limbs and bearded boughs

that slap and sigh, define both space

and sound. The silent winter wind,

in howling, fierce release,

laments for all mankind, all that lives

and once did live, now but memory in the ground,

the clouds, the raucous jays and silent, sifting crows

that droop like dark apostrophes upon the falling sun.


Homes and pools, lawns and asphalt drives,

once wild where rabbits crouched and chewed,

larks in spring sank deep in grass to make their secret nests,

then sang their soaring song like blackbirds liquid in the reeds;

woodchucks wove their hidden way through wind-blown, waving grass

soon cut for cows, then stood beside their mounded holes,

on the close-cropped, curving line of ever-living earth.

No more. The man who tilled the land is gone.


Copyright by Don Gray


Don Gray Art  •  Poems