Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

W.D. Ehrhart: The Farmer

Each day I go into the fields to see what is growing
and what remains to be done.
It is always the same thing: nothing
is growing, everything needs to be done.
Plow, harrow, disc, water, pray
till my bones ache and hands rub
blood-raw with honest labor—
all that grows is the slow
intransigent intensity of need.
I have sown my seed on soil
guaranteed by poverty to fail.
But I don’t complain—except
to passersby who ask me why
I work such barren earth.
They would not understand me
if I stooped to lift a rock
and hold it like a child, or laughed,
or told them it is their poverty
I labor to relieve. For them,
I complain. A farmer of dreams
knows how to pretend. A farmer of dreams
knows what it means to be patient.
Each day I go into the fields.


Reprinted by permission of the author from Thank You for Your Service: Collected Poems by W. D. Ehrhart, McFarland & Company, Inc., 2019

William “Bill” Daniel Ehrhart (born 1948) is an American poet, writer, scholar and Vietnam veteran.

2 comments on “W.D. Ehrhart: The Farmer

  1. Barbara Huntington
    April 28, 2020

    They would not understand me
    if I stooped to lift a rock
    and hold it like a child,

    Beautiful. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. loranneke
    April 28, 2020

    They would not understand me
    if I stooped to lift a rock
    and hold it like a child…
    Thanks you for this poem, Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

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