NORTHWEST POETRY PRESENTS:

"Fallow,"

How There May Come a Time in Life to "Let Go, and Let God," by Eben

Tim Hoskins drove out to see a field

that year by year gave less in yield.

"My best hybrid seed," he thought, is lost,

unless it produce more than it cost.

**************

"Then there's my labor of long days over weeks--

it's like a gas can that badly leaks.

**************

"You're robbing me!" he told that ground

as he passed by a buffalo mound.

"You get an extra shot of nitrogen,

and yet this corn is low and thin.

**************

"I'd sell you off and cut my loss,

but no one wants your weeds and moss.

**************

"My, in the spring how green you look,

but that's soon gone, like a snow-fed brook!"

He kicked the dirt, it hurt his toe--

it's clay when dried that breaks a hoe.

"I've had as much as I can take!"--

and that's a thought a heart can break.

***************

Tim loved his land and the farm life--

it's perfect for his kids and wife.

True, times were tough, and his expenses had climbed;

he had to watch how he was nickel-and-dimed.

***************

"It's a paid vacation I can't afford,

though washtub cabbages from this soil once poured!"

Old family albums told quite a tale--

"Now it sounds like 'Jonah and the Whale'!

************

"No fertilizer used back then,

it was the Garden of Eden again!"

"What's that?" He went to see

and found a thistle the size of a pine tree.

*************

"Years later, all this I see

Grandpa and Grandma, then my dad, passed to me.

"But they had gold, ten foot deep topsoil poured,

and now what's left is tin, plastic, and cardboard!"

************

Tim sighed and returned to his truck;

he felt like Dirty Thirties farmers down on their luck.

He climbed in the cab to sit a while,

and thumbed the old-fashioned radio dial--

and then he noticed he was parked on a fire ant pile!

*********

He spun balled tires getting out of there,

and tore up some corn--he did not care.

His dad's International, it still could go,

though it lost its green paint and third gear long ago.

*********

"Lord, what'll I do, pull out? Yes or No?"

Tim scratched his head, and God answered "Fallow."

"Fallow"? What's that?

It sounded so strange, like singing round the piano "Home, Home on the Range!"

**********

He grabbed an old almanac when he got home,

and found "fallow" had to do with worn-out loam:

"All land needs rest for a year or more,

unless you want to grow gradually poor."

**********

So Tim took advice and let God be God,

and lightning and storms struck spent ground like a rod.

Grasses grew and deep went their roots,

and then come the fall a fire left rich soots.

*********

A lot of things changed that only God knows--

but there came a day no clay stubbed Tim's toes.

And how the corn grew!

Neighbors and 4H classes all came to view.

************

Each acre surpassed the best yields ever known,

all because God had his way with Tim's fields unsown.

FALLOW: Adjective. Left untilled for a season; Noun. Land which has lain untilled and unsown for a year or more.--Webster's New Encyclopedia of Dictionaries

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