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The Debtor

Text of Poem

These leaden days when the sky is overcast
by a sharp-edged wind that turns the cattle home,
I keep my ledger open till the last
cornfield has been accounted for, I come

with pen behind my ear to check and close
the gates through which I hauled my hay and wheat,
I raised some calves and pigs the tally shows,
and these are pictured on the final sheet.

My estimates were often over-size,
I did not grow all I had hoped to grow
but something less, and now I realize
the difference is what I really owe.

Such debts would make me fat if I could tame
and eat them every day, instead my fare
is how to guard my roof against the claim
of the winter’s landlord lien foreclosing there.

First Line
These leaden days when the sky is overcast
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Man and His Field. Denver: Allan Swallow. 1951. 61.
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Bibliographic Notes

Publishing Error: pages 19-20 and 41-42 and incorrectly printed twice, back to back, between pages 30-31