Hardship

A cold harsh landscape once well, now ill,
The skin of its soil worn down to the clay-bones,
Apples hang helpless in trees barren hands,
With time’s taint, tough trade for a Fall.
In a sky, a winter’s shape in darkened clouds —

Whitened flakes leaved in vows: How we shall
Do a drift, a plough. Slowly slowly staunch to a house,
Thrive to a field — crops decrease, frost for a fruit,
Each to the other, snow for a weather.
Follow on an unforgiving wind. Hardship then, trials

To come — echoes from a roughing storm. Some
Havoc on a tender limb, whirls the frost
On a sapling, wreck an orchard; farmer slants
A look. A grunt. A price paid. And the
Quickened Spring air unflourishing. Squatting sun

In a strict second. A moment — free gadding on
A crooked path like a beggar. Strikes to a stone
And all is ablaze. Each bud. Shriveling cinders
To its gutted end. And the doomcrack farm,
The day’s black. The night’s black. A heart’s end.

Copyright © 10/19/17 lance sheridan®

WPNPI

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