A Sample: Herbert Krause: Poems and Essays

  Taken Darkly
    1. As to Neighbors

Many a Yunge got him a farm,
A wife and a spanking team;
And set him a shoulder against the hills,
And cursed the stones and lifted the sills
For a slab-board shack
And seed-oats tied in a sack.
And many a furrow the strength of his arm
Laid down, and many a dream
He told his God.

Count forty years, and what's to show
But twisted claws and the gleam
In his eye near gone. Never a day
But he thought,"A year, and I'll better the way,
Or up and pack;
To hell with breaking the back."
He stayed, like the rest: and saw the slow
Ashes of years and many a dream
Plowed under sod.

    2. As to Myself

And so it's come to night, and nothing done
That won't be done again in sweat of sun
To-morrow, or in rain; I sleep and eat
And slop the pigs and likely curse the heat
Or cold, and bloody fingers, curved to pick
The frost-uncovered stones, and shave the stick
For breakfast fire -- on, on, and what's the use?
Round and round, like corn-mill oxen, day
On day, I follow ruts I did not choose.
Ruts, and the last round done, what's the pay?
A black box, boy, and a shovel-length of clay.

Copyright © 1990 by The Center for Western Studies. All rights reserved.

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