Absence

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

What else could
I do today?
What else but work the soil?

Work the soil
around the corn and beans,
the green squash.

The beans are vining,
feeling for the corn’s torso.

The corn is up
to my shoulders
and beginning to tassel out.

The afternoon clouds
have brought
a hard male rain
in the hottest
and driest year
we remember.

What else could we do
but work the soil?

11 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

11 responses to “Absence

  1. as always a quiet eloquence and a feel for the drama of the moment. I’d be tempted to work the language of the penultimate stanza a bit harder, using the pattern of two or three accents per line. For example,

    The afternoon clouds
    have brought a hard
    male rain in the hottest
    and driest year
    we remember.

    With that kind of reconfiguring the rhythm, the semantics (those superlatives), and the syntax, the refrain almost seems like an anticlimax!

  2. Caddo Veil

    As usual, Ethel, you have a way of “Gently gripping” my heart. God bless you–love, Caddo

  3. Ethel this reaches into the depths of me. I read your words and know a sense of kindred spirit-ship.
    Hugs across the oceans to yourself and Thomas
    Tricia

  4. With those closing words it is hard not to think of the last words of Candide: ‘il faut cultiver notre jardin’. And in a way that seems to be what your poem is saying – not just take advantage of the rain that moistens the soil at last, but in general, come what may, let us cultivate our garden.

  5. Yes, what else can we do…

  6. male rain, tasseled corn…you are wonderful with words!!

  7. Another wonderful poem, Ethel! I love:

    The beans are vining,
    feeling for the corn’s torso.

    Working the soil – in the rare rain… I can smell it!

  8. Julie Catherine

    Ethel, the metaphor of a masculine rain is brilliant, I love it! I also loved the phrase “The beans are vining, feeling for the corn’s torso” – again, personifying really invites the reader to a more intimate level of reading that I’m just loving here. Wonderful poem, Ethel, I loved your concept here. ~ Julie xox

  9. You create an island of nature and tradition surrounded by the madness of materialist insanity. And as ever the work of a true artist.

  10. Yes, Ethel, that is all there is to do – to plant our hands in the soil and feel life growing around us and wait for the rain to be in balance with the sun. Beautiful poem, again.

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