The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn

 

The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn

We have always absorbed heaven,
even through these days of malformed
grain and truth pulled dark and low:
variety confirms purpose. This ear

captures no sound. These inflorescences
produce starch. Those
release pollen. You will die one day.

Inaction reflects uncertain intent.
One must weigh frost,
and with their shallow
roots, susceptibility to drought, poor

soils and high wind. Your lips
kiss steel more readily than flesh, yet
I pray that you amend your thoughts
and accept my proffered hand,

that the individual fruits of the cob
may one day fuse into a single mass,
bringing weight to sunlight,

and a greater grain to your table. But
the door stands unopened, a voice
censuring the innocent. I contemplate
converted light, consider

crows, subduction and rags flapping
in the darkness, silent
tongues wavering unseen above the

unhoed dirt, within each kernel’s
purpose, deep into a hollow core,
raging, unmet and shriveled,
hands opened, resolute yet proud.

The title is from a traditional song, as performed by Alison Krauss and Union Station. The poem is my take on it. “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn” was included in GFT Presents: One in Four, a semiannual, print literary journal published by GFT Press.

20 thoughts on “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn

    • You’re very kind. Thank you. I started writing poetry in 1983, wrote consistently for 7 or 8 years until life intervened. During the 90s I barely wrote, but the urge became too great to resist in 2000, and I picked up the pen again. I wrote sporadically from then until January 2012, when I began a daily writing practice, which I’ve maintained since then.

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  1. Impressive. To maintain that dedication is certainly impressive. I have just started writing and sometimes I feel so lost. Like how I am just a novice and how I got so much to learn. Like I have no idea of any technicalities related to poetry, how I am gonna survive in this brutal competitive world. And then I read your works I feel hope. I think someday maybe I’ll be able to write this good. And that faith is what keeps me going. So thank you

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    • When I finally realized that I couldn’t stop writing, I decided to concentrate on it. Dunno if that’s dedication or just obstinacy. For the longest time I didn’t know what I was doing, even though on occasion a decent poem tumbled out. Consistency eluded me until I began writing every day. And reading a good amount of poetry, especially poetry from outside the English canon, has helped immensely. There are many books about the elements and craft of poetry. I’ve found those helpful, as have been poetryfoundation.org and poetrysociety.org. As far as competition goes, I don’t dwell on it. The only person I truly compete against is me – my goal is to improve, to write better, to strengthen weaknesses, to become more consistent and knowledgable. Patience helps, too. 🙂

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      • I really needed to hear all these things. I don’t know how well I expressed myself, but you answered all my asked and unasked thoughts spot on. I guess why I am going so restless these days is because patience is the last trait I have. I will have to work on that. Can I come for your valuable advice again because I know I will need it and you certainly are the best guide I can have.

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