On Andrew Wyeth’s Public Sale, 1943
An old farmer forced to sell the place
after his wife’s long illness. It’s just as well―
the land had grown sick, too, the ochre hills
now whispering of death, the near-bare trees
lisping loss, the graying sky sighing
Just off the dirt road leading to the house,
people swarming like crickets, scavenging
through barrels and baskets and harvesters
and ploughs for bargains, steals and giveaways.
The old pick-up truck, having hauled many
a load of wood and livestock and grain,
now sits rusty, no life in its bed, only traces
of sun-kissed blueberries and silken stalks
of corn and golden-red kindling for the fire
that must have raged tenderly just inside
the clapboard building where cast-iron pot
atop cold furnace still invites the fire.
Which objects bespeak life in this
solitary place? The husked, seed corn
roped across barn rafters, the hollowed-out
bread trough on rough, log-hewn kitchen
table, the faded blue apron thrown over nail
on cedar-paneled wall? What of hand-
crafted baby crib, a yellowing christening
gown and cobwebs its only décor?
The enameled bedpan at the foot
of four-poster bed, now a nesting berth
for rats and lizards and other critters?
What will witness of life? What will testify
in silence to love? For while the earth
remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night shall not cease.
Jo Taylor is a retired, 35-year English teacher from Georgia. Her favourite genre to teach high school students was poetry, and today she dedicates more time to writing it, her major themes focused on family, place, and faith. She says she writes to give testimony to the past and to her heritage. She has been published in several print and on-line journals, including The Ekphrastic Review, and in 2021 she published her first collection of poems, Strange Fire.
The Ekphrastic Review
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