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The Farmstead

Text of Poem

The farmstead lies in the angle
of pine and spruce trees set to break
the rush of winter winds, a few
young apple trees lean north
so buds won’t wake too soon
if a March thaw stirs their roots.
The house from its knoll squares
with the compass points above
the feedyard flanked by an open barn
and feedbunks filled with
bright ground corn where cattle crowd
and drift away, and a water tank
with its skim of ice. In clear air barns
shine red against the white-walled house,
a road loops through two gates
(come in for coffee or go out with trucks).
Steers bawl, pigs squeal, dogs bark,
sparrows whirl from a bush, a cat
waits on a robin, a salesman starts his car, 
and braced against confusion the farmer
stands in the sun and wills his world
to order. He notes a change of wind,
reviews his plans, grins at his hopes,
helps his wife in the garden after chores
to burn dead stalks and stems, remembers seeds’
soft burst above the highway’s rumble,
and trusts a newborn calf to keep
his sky from falling.

First Line
The farmstead lies in the angle
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Apple 4 (Autumn 1970) 21.
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Bibliographic Notes

Very descriptive poem. Likely describes the Hearst farmstead.