Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Poem: Grandma's Stuck

Magpie Tales Prompt
It was new once, back in the 50's
Grandpa bought it for real cash,
folded bills out of a canvas wallet.

Bright blue paint, rounded fenders.
Big black tires biting the dirt road.
Arm out the open window, he smiles.

Gone are the days of a wagon and team.
The old geldings resting three legged in
the back pasture under the poplars.

Grandma met him at the front door.
Hands drying on her pressed apron,
looking in wonder at the new truck.

He takes her hands, looks her in the eye,
"Honey you are gonna drive her for me,
we have to harvest the wheat this week."

She nods, knowing the boys are busy
running the threshing machine she fears.
She won't look at it, remembering that day.

Her childhood blotted out in blood as her
dad died there, bleeding on the straw.
Farm wife, yes, farming wife never.

She never went to the fields, unless
she was bringing food to leave on the wagon.
She never looked, she knew she'd still see.

He takes her by the hand, and lifts her up.
She's light as a feather, and trembling so.
The truck is so big! Huge. New. Loud.

The gear knob seems so dirty in her hand,
the steering wheel big and stiffly turning.
Clutch deep down, brakes hard and tight.

"Check your mirrors. Don't get stuck."
He reminds her, fearing the worst.
She doesn't drive, and he knows it.

"Follow me to the field, it's easy."
Whine, growl, clunk - she stalls it flat.
It roars to life again, rumbling away.

She idles in first gear, fearing to shift.
She grips the wheel so tight, her hands ache.
The field looms a waving gold killer.

Grandma is stuck. Stuck in the past.
Stuck in this truck. Stuck on the farm.
Stuck because she loves him more.

The truck rolls to a stop, rumbling,
he looks back and sees her tears.
Washing her face, her eyes a blur.

Suddenly the harvest is forgotten.
He remembers too, he was a boy then.
The blood on the wheat, the screams.

The door opens, and he pulls her out.
He understands and holds her close.
She leans, moans and then pulls back.

"We've got a field to get done," she whispers.
"And the bread is rising. I don't have all day."
Hand in hand they stay a moment longer.

Nodding, he knows, and they pull together
as they always did, always do, and the job
got done. Again. The tears dried. Again.

The rough voices and work worn hands of farmers and farming wives seldom reveal their tender hearts for the land, their crops and their animals.  They rarely let you in to their hurts and hopes. But every table that bears a meal, ever full cupboard or fridge is because of their love, their passion, their sweat and tears.  I dedicate this poem to Lester, Nellie, Albert, Walter and Effie and all those who came before and who come after that feed us. SJS

21 comments:

Debbie Dillon said...

Shanyn....this is, without a doubt, my favorite from you! I absolutely LOVE your writing here, sharing your heart, bringing me there alongside your grandmother and all her inhibitions. What a beautiful tribute. Thank you so much for this! Beautiful :)
Many blessings to you,
Debbie

Mystic_Mom said...

Debbie, thank you for coming by and for the lovely encouraging words. I was proud to call her Baba, my husband's grandma, and she was an amazing lady. We miss her very much.

Brian Miller said...

nice...you really sucked me into your story...nice textures...can hear your heart in it as well...very nice write...

Helen said...

This touched my heart ... my grandfather died in a tragic accident while he worked on his farm equipment ... my grandmother was the epitome of the farm wife .... she tried in vain to save him.

Mystic_Mom said...

Brian - *blush* thank you! Parts of it are a true story that I heard this winter for the first time. It has stuck with me and also struck me deeply.

Helen - thanks for coming by, and I'm sorry to hear about your grandparent's tragedy. Too many were lost feeding and providing. Hugs.

Heidi said...

Beautifully written... I could feel the beating of her heart... I cried. I found you through Debbie Dillon :) Blessings!

Mystic_Mom said...

Heidi, thanks so much for coming by. It is so nice to see you here, and thanks for your words!

gautami tripathy said...

I am so glad I came here today! Love your writing..

hitching a ride in rusted trails

Kerry O'Connor said...

I can see that a lot of work went into this narrative ballad. You brought the characters to life, and wrote with great sympathy of old age.

Thank you for sharing your work on Real Toads.

Mystic_Mom said...

Gautami - thank you for coming by, so nice to see you here. Thanks for the love.

Kerry - thank you so much for coming over, and thanks for finding my first share on Real Toads! :-) You really encourage me.

thepoetsquill said...

Every farmer--or farmer's wife--has such stories. Heavy equipment is dangerous and OSHA isn't out there looking over the farmer's shoulder.

This is so very well written, depicting the anguish from past so clearly anyone can experience it.

Mystic_Mom said...

Poet's Quill - thank you for coming by. And yes farming has always been (and always will be) a deadly vocation that many love and die for. Thanks for your comment and for reading. Hope to see you again!

Trellissimo said...

Lovely story in verse, capturing their resilience very well

Mystic_Mom said...

Trellissimo - thank you for coming by and for the comment. :-)

charleslmashburn said...

Wonderful poem and tribute. if you stop by my site, take a look at "Farmer's Lament". I think you'll enjoy it.
http://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/he-was-a-ford-man-2/

Mystic_Mom said...

Charles - thanks for coming by, and I'm glad you enjoyed the poem and the tribute it is meant to be. I'm on my way over to read "Farmer's Lament"!

Brian Miller said...

thanks for the comment on my mag...looking forward to yours...

Mystic_Mom said...

Brian - my pleasure! :-)

Old Raven said...

This is so very beautiful. You conveyed what you wanted to convey with love and beauty, fervor and intensity. I have had such a hard time getting to your blog, for the links never worked. I think that I came in the back door through another blog of yours. I am so glad to have finally connected.

Roshanda "ShonEjai" Glenn said...

Beautiful! I loved it!

Mystic_Mom said...

Old Raven - thank you for telling me about the links not working, I will check on that! So glad you found the back door (I always leave it unlocked :-)). Thanks also for your comment, and I"m so glad you are here!

ShonEjai - thanks for visiting this post, and leaving some love.

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