a simple exercise
Wayne, the head of the Farm department, always mystified me with his ability to rattle off stanzas on command. Filthily clad in jeans and flannel, gnarled hands, smelling like cows and manure or haying season, Wayne would show up for breakfast--always late--and occasionally surprise everyone with a poem or two. I didn't even know Updike wrote poetry until Wayne shared this:
I sometimes fear the younger generation will be deprived
of the pleasures of hoeing;
there is no knowing
how many souls have been formed by this simple exercise.
The dry earth like a great scab breaks, revealing
the pea-root's home,
a fertile wound perpetually healing.
How neatly the green weeds go under!
The blade chops the earth new.
Ignorant the wise boy who
has never rendered thus the world fecunder.