To Catch the Sunset





…he says
let’s walk up to the field and catch the sunset
and off we go, a couple of aging fools.

I hope, he says, on the other side there’s a lot
less work, but just in case I’m bringing tools.
~Maxine Kumin from “Chores”



When I pull open the barn doors
every morning
and close them again each evening,
as our grandparents did
one hundred years ago,
six rumbling voices
rise in greeting.
We exchange scents,
nuzzle each others’ ears,
rumble grumble back a response.

We do our chores faithfully
as our grandparents once did–
draw fresh water
into buckets,
wheel away
the pungent mess underfoot,
release an armful of summer
from the bale,
reach under heavy manes
to stroke silken necks.

We don’t depend
on our horses’ strength
and willingness to
don harness
to carry us to town
or move the logs
or till the soil
as our grandparents did.

these soft eyed souls,
born on this farm
two long decades ago,
are simply grateful
for our constancy
morning and night
to serve their needs
until the day comes
they need no more.

And we depend on them
to depend on us
to be there
to open and close the doors;
their low whispering welcome
gives voice
to the blessings of
living on a farm
ripe with rhythms and seasons,
sunrises and sunsets,
as if yesterday, today and tomorrow are
just like one hundred years ago.




6 thoughts on “To Catch the Sunset

  1. The grandeur of that poem equals its simplicity …
    line after earthy line.
    So earthy, another world bleeds through.
    Thank you, Doctor.


    PS: “soft eyed souls” … oh my … “until the day comes /
    they need no more”


  2. as my husband, the writer, says above, …oh my… i was born a hundred years too late. i used to beg my parents to move to a farm. i love every one of your posts! thank you so much!


  3. The beauty and love – and constancy – that spills forth from your memories today, Emily, is especially memorable. Thank you.


  4. Emily,

    I appreciate your thoughts as I lie here pooped after a long day of commuting and work and am considering that I better get out there to the barn to those loved ones who are depending on me to care for their needs before the darkness comes. It helps to contemplate that this is a journey that so many share.


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