I, citizen of clean suburb, goggled
and masked commuter, molded finally by
plastic and acceleration, started
life a simple gatherer of eggs.
Daily I advanced, little thief-boy of
six, upon a dozen crotchety hens
to take treasure for our table. Hot bulk
of fresh egg in palm, pungency of manure
and mildewed wood and damp shavings. I remember.
At twelve, a mucker of stalls, I learned the
presence of horse. Large mass of warm mammal
I knew, thick-feel of winter fur, sponginess
underfoot. Coolness of hands sunk in binned
wheat. Deep, liquid resonance of horse feeding,
pain of horse-bite.
Today a mover of desk-paper,
at fifteen I was a packer of
silage. Happy prisoner in upended
tube, vision of sky dimmed, ears and hair filled,
by rain of chopped com. Tramping, packing in
utter joy, drinking deeply of that champagne
of rural fragrances. Drinking deeply
And storer of hay, I can't forget, bare back
communing with sun. Bending, straightening,
lifting, hauling. Nostrils filled with sweetness
of cut stem, clogged with black dust of stifling
mow. I remember.
My suburban children, born without
asking into plastic and acceleration,
what sense-relics will they bear into age?
Chickens are zoned out, smell of cowbarn
illegal, hay and horses all fled, eggs
arrived in cold cartons, silos empty
and rotting, no forests or fields to fill
windows with grace. No fresh-cut-hemlock smell,
no bouquet of smoke or broke sod. No fire.
What will their memories touch?