August/September 2009 - Vol. 32

Wet Fall in Summer

by Sean O'Neill


The towns run with water, or peopleís dreams,
Where there are no seasons. But in the farms,
Where the damp, red metallic gate hinge screams,
The shaking stalls in sheds ward off alarms.
Farmers smile at the fly-blown days of June,
And the rump of curdled earth that would bake
The barley into bloom. Who thought so soon
Of the chasubles of mud the rains make?

For with each round iotaís shattered crown,
The combed head of the earth croons lullabies
To dupe the sleeping seeds to fetter down
Roots where this placental carapace dies.
And with every specter of new-mown rain
Making nightmares for the sound-sleeping land,
Heaven washes out again Abelís stain
And cleans our fathersí bones, on which we stand.

So what will they do with the harvest now?
Or the inland sea at the roadís turning?
Or the balding byres, or the sinking sow,
When the rains fall and the fields stop burning?
Good husbandry is marrying the land
And good farmers are cuckolds in the know.
The rain will fall but lightly on that hand
That will not turn the plough it would forego.

[Sean O'Neill is originally from Glasgow, Scotland, and currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. His poems range from the sacred to the mundane and sometimes, inadvertently, both at the same time.] 

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