An Uncommon Prayer for the Farm
after Brian Doyle
This morning three cracked and cleaned-out ducks eggs rested in mud. The ducks ignore the coop they share with broody hens. A raccoon slinked through the night, egg eater who slipped under the guard dog’s radar.
First petition: safety.
Yellow jackets nest in the propane tank lid. A dead squirrel showed up yesterday in the grass while innocent-seeming dogs begged for a romp down to the creek. A mother tiger-cat stepped aside to let her kitten finish off a garter snake, her hand-me-down hunting dance. Later she ate a mouse. Two hawks flew in concentric rings over the chicken coop, and the guard dog barked at them. I work to get five range-born lambs to accept grain from my hand. Fated to become chops and roasts, they have a right to be skittish.
May we be safe within the confines of our being.
A farm is always in want of something. The deep hole we dug to the cracked irrigation valve needs filling. The piglets had metal tags in their ears before they came here to fatten up into proud Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs. One ear oozed the day before yesterday. Then the ear crusted up. Now the tag is gone.
Today – clear sky summer and a grass tickle-breeze. The black herding dog pants in sycamore shade. The kittens made a straw nest in the goat barn. Three species of butterflies are out and about, as are the moths that head-banged the lamps last night. The black currants, blueberries and raspberries are ripe. Organic vegetables are swelling up, and sure, abundant kale, and the first cucumber.
Repair of gratitude.
Poet’s note: Tricia Knoll is a regular farmsitter at the Broadfork Farm in Trout Lake, Washington. In June, The Poetry Box will release a collection of poems, Broadfork Farm, about the creatures of the farm below the moods of Mt. Adams. Website: triciaknoll.com
Photo by Darrell Salk
[image: Darrell Salk]