Ploughing Deep

Field with Plowing Farmer by Vincent Van Gogh
O wet red swathe of earth laid bare,
O truth, O strength, O gleaming share,
O patient eyes that watch the goal,
O ploughman of the sinner’s soul.
O Jesus, drive the coulter deep
To plough my living man from sleep…
Lo, all my heart’s field red and torn,
And Thou wilt bring the young green corn,
And when the field is fresh and fair
Thy blessed feet shall glitter there,
And we will walk the weeded field,
And tell the golden harvest’s yield,
The corn that makes the holy bread
By which the soul of man is fed,
The holy bread, the food unpriced,
Thy everlasting mercy, Christ.
~John Masefield from The Everlasting Mercy


My heart land is plowed,
yielding to the plowshare digging deep with the pull of the harness,
the steady teamster centering the coulter.  
The furrow should be straight and narrow. 
I am tread upon yet still bloom; 
I am turned upside down yet still produce bread.
The plowing under brings freshness to the surface,
a new face upturned to the cleansing dew,
knots of worms now making fertile simple dust. 
Plow deep my heart, dear Lord. 
May it grow what is needed
to feed your hungry children.
Painting “Plowing the Field” by Joyce Lapp
photo by Josh Scholten

2 thoughts on “Ploughing Deep

  1. Great way to start my morning before rounds. Glad to be reminded before I walk the hospital fields of whose corn it is and that he is using me in the harvest.


  2. Emily, that was beautiful. I’ve loved John Masefield ever since college when I read the poem which I think is called “Sea Fever”:

    I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by…

    It must be wondeful to feel like you are sustaining the earth and it’s people.


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