Selected Works, Volume One On Sale
Jerry Prager, author of Legends of the Morgeti vol 1 &2 has published selections of poetry and prose from three of his previously published books, his blog The Well Versed Heart and unpublished works. On Sale at Macondo Books, the Bookshelf, in Guelph and the Eden Mills Writers Fest.
D'Etre Raisins

No sour grapes these,

rather the withered sweetness
of seasons lengthened
to aged fruition
chewed introspectively.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mucking Out

Horse stalls, pig sties and the cow pen
are finally clean after the neglect
that came with haying
and the onslaught of winter.

Thirty shovels fill a three foot long,
two foot deep, steel bin hung on a track
from a ceiling beam; a train pulled by me,
spilling straw and manure, load after load,
in and out to the dung heap.

The yard, steaming in the cold
is packed with freezing, waist high muck ranges
up which I drag the ton heavy bin,
struggling to find a low enough spot to dump it.

The wheels derail from the effort,
cast-iron arms crack me in the skull,
I stumble dazed in sub-zero disgust on my knees
down fecal ranges trying not to pass out,
not quite but almost ready to curse God and die,
venting my spleen instead onto the ice-hard
ooze pool.

I stagger back up and curse the derailed bin
back onto the track and back into the barn
while the mare studies me from her stall.

A cow along the bin path, belligerent at being disturbed,
kicks up its hooves, missing my face,
crashing into a lowing relation lying
in front of the gates over which
I must negotiate passage,
triggering another barrage of my spleen.

Only the boar's sty remains: Rudy.
Rudy likes me - some days; other days
he gnaws at the shaft of the shovel,
bloodshot eyeing me, tusks like nicotine.

Today, affectionate to neither me
nor to his mate of the week, I have to buy him off
with extra feed, and muck out only what he lets me,
my anger checked; his, in danger of venting.

Alone again outside on the settling mass,
the last load upturned, cold wind and
escarpment clouds compose dusk from the blue.

Purged of loathing, my breath falls like snow
on the pungent peaks at my feet.

I imagined villages nestled along the manure ridges,
tiny people who watch the coming of the night,
the snow of my breath falling among them.


Kathleen said...

I've read this a few times, but today this finally burst through: So much more immediate and resonate if I just shirk any embarrassment among my family and read your poems OUT LOUD.
Maybe I should have learned that in school, but the schools I attended didn't teach me enough about poetry.
Can you write this without saying it?
Yes or no, this reader needs to see and hear it together.

Jerry Prager said...

I find that reading it aloud/speaking it aloud is something I do when I'm trying to see if it sounds like marbles in the mouth, or whether the vowels and consonants aid and abet one another. I certainly speak it into my own mind, for the most part, but if I have a doubt about the sense of a line or it's rhythm, the mouth is an adept judge of its strengths and weaknesses.
I'm surprised it was this poem that coaxed you into the comment pages.
It's one of a slew of work poems I have.
I've had to go back to work (landscaping) so I haven't been blogging as much, and I've been too exhausted at nights to post much, so it was nice to hear from you.