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Poetically Yours - On the farm

Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours highlights poets who live in the northern Illinois area. Today's poem is by Daniel Smith.
Smith is a retired dairy farmer whose poetry reflects his rural upbringing. His works are published in many journals. He lives on a Wisconsin farm with his wife Cheryl. The imagery in this poem might make you feel like you’re on a farm. It’s called “To Words.”

The first words to my ears

came low across the prairie

like rocks rolled

over plowed ground.

Uttered by German and Irish farmers,

filed to a point, pointing

to bad weather and broken machinery

and horses that could no longer pull.

Filled with dead furrows, headlands

and summer fallow,

of hoar frost, open heifers,

twisted stomachs and stillborn calves.

At the workbench, in the field,

out back of the barn,

I learned swear words

that never made it to the house.

There, men grew silent. Heads down,

they shoveled food like coal into a furnace,

red forearms placed before their plates,

never looking up, lost for words.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.