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There is Time to Be Cheerful

Text of Poem
On the back steps
in the dawn light
you put on your shoes
while the collie nuzzles you
ready to be sent for the cows.
You yawn, watch the pigeons
circle the barnyard as if tied
to a string. You hear voices,
familiar as dew, deep hog grunts,
a calf crying for its mother,
across the fields a neighbor’s jackass
honks for mares. You breathe the spirit
of space, sound, feel the fresh stretch
of earth’s body. Beyond the honeysuckle
hedge where the ducks sleep
head folded under wing, sun reflects
from barn windows, the children’s pony
rubs its rump on a post. Fertile fields
could make this morning talk in symbols
but the fact of chores stirs your mind
while in the kitchen a voice hums
a breakfast tune. The odor of coffee,
bacon frying, rouses you to feed
the farm’s hunger. When you come
from the barn the morning wears
a flower face. You kiss your wife
good morning.
The children in place at the table
catch the contagion and laugh at your
good morning, good morning festival.
You count the hour as a new start
untouched yet by the day’s anguish.
Outside the window the hollyhocks nod
and each moment seems about to bloom.
First Line
On the back steps
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Skylark 10 (1981) 65.
Complete Poems
Word Count
Poetic Form
Twitter Quote
The odor of coffee, / bacon frying, rouses you to feed / the farm’s hunger.