Paul Hamill

February 3, 2009

Drafts, “Leaving the Farm” (2 poems)

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul @ 10:24 am

Leaving the Farm


Adam and Eve had no ambitions.  But I,

Leaving yard and garden behind for good,

Sneak out with unruly perennials in hand:

Wistful small ambitions, slow-paced

Rural visions incurable as sinning,  

Random as crocuses where the snow thins.

The soul yearns to compete with its old harvests,

Leans to fall overboard for country sirens.  


I left for threadbare reasons—money, illness—

But as even the rattle in his throat

Does not lift the miser from old envies

I yearn to work improvements, seed and space

Better than last year, stand back from bowing to dirt,

Admire the perfect plot for a perfect year.


And already I see it: asparagus

Pricks from its hairy tangle underground,

The exuberant cumulus of rhubarb unfurls

From red stubs, the snow peas send such simple flowers

I forgive the old Victorian blather about

How genteel morals blossom from garden sweat.


It seems to me the sirens of the sea

Must have sung to sailors’ different nostalgias:

Not the great loves but small things lost

To the great ocean: sunlight on a plaza,

A favorite dog, the sound of children,

Something to prune in the soft evening.




It always got ahead of me.  Summer and early Fall

expectant, then suddenly off the tree of desire 

it falls at once, harvest on harvest.  We hustle

picking stomping slicing preserving throwing out,

reality falling too fast for amateurs like us.


Surplus delights the sturdy peasant who blesses

his pile of the same staple through the months

but we, grasshoppers, summer-dainty, turn

nauseous at the pile of cabbage and squashes

multiplying like the fishes in Scripture,

until we reach our predictable autumnal

embarrassment at the undone, unsaved.  I wrote,

In Nature, when there is enough

There is too much.

But even there

the snake whispers: next time sequence better,

harrow deeper, pause to taste.  No need, really,

to limit yourself: no need to rein in

the involution that takes the whole year

for an orchard,

is greedy to boast:

our corn, our grapes, our apples.

Our garden, invisibly walled.

 Dear Eve:

the pleasures that depend on falling!





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