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Monday, December 1, 2014

The Tractor

Photos by Randy Laird.  Used with permission.

It stood motionless,
the Deere at the edge
of the woods, as though waiting
for something, for someone
to bring the come-along
and finish
what we started.

The bushes moved
in like guerilla soldiers. Stealthy.
The bush hog lay
wounded in the weeds.

And standing in that patch
of angled sunlight,
the heat ticking off
the hours
and minutes
and days
and moments
of reflection and rejection,
it seemed as though I heard a sigh.

The trees, their reply,
a sudden shudder,
showered leaves like trouble
you'd just as soon forget.
Birds burst forth with screams.
Why?  Why?

Had the tractor been brought to clear the brush
or had the brush moved in to claim the tractor?
Who was the warrior here? Who the vanquished?

Insect battalions chant their nightly ululations
and the creepers crawl.

Like a Confederate soldier
fighting someone else's war,
the Deere stands, a silent sentinel
slowly bleeding
precious oil into the ground
and asks us to remember, or
at least not to forget.

Will man ever make order out of chaos
instead of the other way 'round?

Listen to the land.  She will tell you.
Beyond the darkening woods,
behind the hill, you can feel it
a distant rumble
thunder, hoofbeats
the coming roar.

August 14, 2006