I’ve wondered how they kept the blades that sharp
For such cutting when they struggled with scythes.
Hay is tough, dullness only plucked it like a harp;
Why some men left the harvest to their wives.
Today, machines can cut and bale a field
Within hours, but can’t increase the yield.
The flung bales crush the serried rows
Of severed stalks, but scattered straws
Defy the yield like impudent scofflaws,
Yet to be turned under by the plow.
We keep our distance, merciful and shy,
And dare not bend a stalk with shoe or eye.
In memory of Lucien Stryk, poet, teacher, friend.
Note: This sonnet is one from a sequence of poems after paintings or images called “Brushstrokes.” The entire sequence can be viewed at the blog, Zealotry of Guerin. Photo taken by the author.