Friday, 07 May 2021

American Life in Poetry: Farm Sonnet

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Missouri poet, Kitty Carpenter, could have chosen any number of titles for her poem, a moving and difficult accounting of how the roles of parent and child change as a result of the passing of time; but it is, in the end, a poem that locates its hope in memory—the memory that the farm represents for her when she thinks of her mother’s strength.

Farm Sonnet
By Kitty Carpenter

The barn roof sags like an ancient mare’s back.
The field, overgrown, parts of it a marsh
where the pond spills over. No hay or sacks
of grain are stacked for the cold. In the harsh
winters of my youth, Mama, with an axe,
trudged tirelessly each day through deep snow,
balanced on the steep bank, swung down to crack
the ice so horses could drink. With each blow
I feared she would fall, but she never slipped.
Now Mama’s bent and withered, vacant gray
eyes fixed on something I can’t see. I dip
my head when she calls me Mom. What’s to say?
The time we have’s still too short to master
love, and then, the hollow that comes after.


American Life in Poetry does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. It is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2020 by Kitty Carpenter, “Farm Sonnet” from Rattle, (Winter 2020). Poem reprinted by permission of Kitty Carpenter and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2021 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.

Upcoming Calendar

8May
05.08.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
9May
05.09.2021
Mother's Day
9May
05.09.2021 8:30 am - 11:00 am
American Legion Post 437 breakfast
10May
05.10.2021 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Woodland Community College forum
11May
05.11.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
15May
05.15.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Saturday market
15May
05.15.2021 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
American Legion Post flag retirement ceremony
16May
05.16.2021 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Lake County Fair cleanup event
17May
05.17.2021
Tax Day

Mini Calendar

loader

LCNews

Responsible local journalism on the shores of Clear Lake.

 

Memberships:

 

Newsletter

Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.
Cookies!

lakeconews.com uses cookies for statistical information and to improve the site.