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.

 

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

  1. One of my dad’s earliest memories is of hoeing cotton with his mother and his sisters. Of course when he told the story he was only 3 and did the work of five men. His older sisters tell a much different tale. I think he more hindrance than help.
    Loved your poem.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The video is great – otherwise I’d REALLY be lost! Song predates RoundUp, so I gather the boy had other reasons to not hoe … reasons he keeps resolutely to himself “with hands open”, proud to accept un-hoed consequences. (I’m ruling out laziness … )
    A good morning puzzle to “weed” through the day … btw, I’m envisioning scarecrow in the midst of all this!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I enjoyed the video Robert, and filed it my Country Music playlist. I fascinated by your poem, and these two lines stood out for me, and then I put them together… I think it worked
    ” This ear captures no sound.
    hands opened, resolute yet proud.”…………….

    Liked by 1 person

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