(I just found out tonight my uncle, Guy Grover, passed away. He’d been in ill health for awhile. Other than my mom, he was my dad’s best friend. They farmed a mile from one another…went on dozens of Canadian fishing trips…and hunted deer, fox, pheasants, and ducks together for over 60 years. He was a very successful farmer and a true outdoorsman. This poem, which I wrote awhile back, is dedicated to Guy Grover, his brother Jim, and my father Max…hard working Iowa farmers whose lineage in the Rowley area originated in the 1840s.)
They can trace their Buchanan county ancestry
Back to a sod house high above Bear Creek…
When there were actually bears.
Like cornfields they’ve stood tall,
Roots anchored by their heritage.
Now the elders, they’re pitted and raspy and weathered.
They’ve endured pounding hail…torrential rains…and endless sun.
Yet grateful for Godly nurture and loam’s abundance,
They’ve cultivated a dignified, humble truce with sky and soil.
One November night, in a black and white vision,
The farmer becomes the cornstalk.
His grayed tassels are rustled by a goose-bump breeze,
As a single-row combine does a 180 at the section line.
Its bright headlight washes out a shuck-dust moon.
Stalks tumble before him;
And then through him The Harvester passes,
Husked to the wind.