In this valley which each year marks
a season with its own taxonomy

rotating with the crop, just one steadfast hand

on his powered steed ploughs, harrows, sows,


sprays, harvests and stores. Like a genie

from his own sandwich box. He has no need

for his father’s strong arms and legs,

only a good eye and steady hands. Alone


in the great field on his comfy seat,

mobbed by gulls and crows as the sun climbs

and falls, as the clouds bunch or fly, wind

or still air round his sealed cabin,


rain shot on his roof or the dead heat

across his shoulders. It’s a shifting world.

And when he takes his path back to the farm

leaving his beast to the watch until morning


there is nothing to give the cooling earth.

Only the sad paper which is no sacrifice

sits in his back pocket, folded and out of sight

to set him ready for tomorrow.



© John Stuart