The Chimaera: Issue 4, September 2008

«Title Page

Timothy Murphy

Farming All Night

I dreamed of a lush stand of hard spring wheat
      and bumper barley yields
      ripening in my fields,
sunflowers blooming in the summer heat —

then came the black squalls with swathes of hail,
      lodged and battered grain,
      ruinous harvest rain
and flooded barley rotting in the swale.

Betting the Ranch

He could have sold his pregnant cows last fall.
      A hedger ought to weigh
      the cost of air-dropped hay
before a blizzard and a margin call.

“Blow Winds and Crack Your Cheeks”

A stage so large the combine seems a prop:
      the farmer plays by heart
      Tom o’ Bedlam’s part,
and hail drops like a curtain on the crop.

Center Pivots

Fields of canola
on the plains of Montana:
slices of banana
in a bowl of granola.

The Hatch

Over the sodden ditches
midges and mayflies swarm,
harbingers of riches
and offspring of the storm.

The Expulsion

Six weeks of drought,
the corn undone
and wheat burned out
by the brazen sun —

over that land
an angel stands
with an iron brand
singeing his hands.

Tim Murphy’s latest books are Beowulf, A Longman Cultural Edition, co-translated with Alan Sullivan, 2004, and Very Far North, Waywiser Press (London), 2002.
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