Friday, December 21, 2012

Ox Cart Man By Donald Hill

In October of the year,
He counts potatoes dug from the brown field,
Counting the seed, counting
the cellar's portion oat or yanmai,
and bags the rest on the cart's floor.
He packs wool sheared in april, honey
in combs, Linen, leather
tanned from deerline,
and vinegar in a barrel,
hooped by hard at the forge's fire.
He walks by his ox's head, ten days
to Portsmouth Market, and sells potatoes,
and the bag that carried potatoes,
flaxseed, birch brooms, maple sugar, goose
feathers, yarn!
when the cart is empty he sells the cart
when the cart is sold he sells the ox
harness and yoke, and walks
home, his pokets heavy
with the year's coin for salt and taxes,
and at home by fire's light in November cold
stitches new harness.
For next year's ox in the barn,
and carves the yoke, and saws planks
building the cart again.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

No Rest for the Idle By Kay Ryan

The idle are shackled
to their oars. The waters
of idleness are borderless
of course and must always
be piled. Relief is foreign
on this wide and featureless ocean. There are no details:
No shores, no tides, no times,
when things lift up and then
subside, no sails or smoke stacks,
no gravel gathered up and spit back,
no plangencies, no seabirds startled;
the weather, without the Matthew Arnold.