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For A Neighbor Woman

Text of Poem

Early this morning
as wind waked the grass,
she uncurled her fingers
and let life pass,
he took her, death did,
just as she was.

Early this morning,
after small disasters,
she put by her hollyhocks
and her bed of asters,
her Bible and spectacles
and the old chair with casters.

Early this morning
she left the drowsy farm,
she went too soon to hear
the alarm clock’s alarm,
over rose and larkspur
she passed without harm.

Her weather-beaten basket
has nothing more to do,
the shoes that limped toward evening
and rest are empty too,
her gloves beneath the sweet peas
stain with heavy dew.

Maybe she died easy . . .
I think she bargained hard,
she borrowed all the earth would give
for flowers in the yard,
and mortgaged her own self to pay
for them afterward.

She was a farmer’s wife
all of her days,
and wrung color bloom by bloom
from sour stoic clays,
she asked mercy from no one
nor God for praise.

First Line
Early this morning
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Man and His Field. Denver: Alan Swallow. 1951. 28.
Complete Poems
Hearst Collections
Word Count

Permission to reproduce work from the James Hearst Papers has been granted by the Special Collections Department of the University of Iowa Libraries.

Poetic Form
Twitter Quote
She was a farmer’s wife / all of her days,