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The Interloper

I walked along the corn field

trying to guess potential yield.

I notice the broken stalk and

the ear that had been nibbled

and curse the deer for stealing

my struggling corn crop.

The doomsday phrase “extreme

drought” leaves my future in doubt.

I worry and fret over the cost to

plant and harvest non-existent crops.

Can I survive if truly all is lost?

Up one row to the right I glance

and her presence I notice by chance.

A tranquil private moment I spy-

the beauty of Diana’s creature,

her serenity nearly moved me to tears.

Tractors, planters and yields no longer matter

I could only feel an enormous guilt

of destroying her home with every

fence, furrow, and field we farmers built.

Her presence my world did shatter.

How dare I feel it is my land

when her gentle kind have been

roaming these plains longer

than I could ever imagine.

Money is all I stand to lose with

no rainfall coming to quench

the thirst of the dry cracked soil.

She sleeps and looks peaceful,

but the corn is her only meal

and water is even more elusive.

Silently I walk back to the farmhouse

grateful for all that I have.

***

Linking to Real Toads and d’Verse Poets for their open links.

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19 thoughts on “The Interloper

  1. I am here to comment on “Interloper”, a point well taken by me, written in kind, understanding words. Your goat gravatar really piqued my curiosity, as anyone who would use this dear creature to represent herself, has to be a blogger I’d enjoy reading. Since I saw your goat gravatar on “SharpLittlePencil’s site, I had more reason to find you & see what else you are about, so, here I am, a new Follower of Razzamadazzle. What a cool call name…

    • Thanks so much for your kind words. If you really like goats, you should visit my farm blog or my goat Millie has a blog also. Links are in the sidebar.

  2. This was so thoughtful. Meditative. As a fellow Midwesterner noted, “It’s them or us.” I said, “The farmers would coexist much better with all wildlife if there weren’t two REAL ‘interlopers’: Monsanto (and other CAFOS and shitbogs that are associated with Big Agri) and suburban sprawl, particularly golf courses. Developers are really to blame for the small farmers’ problem – and now they will be bought up even faster by the macro=businesses. It stinks. I say, stay close to the city and use the community pool. No one needs a McMansion in the ‘burbs. The excess is not worth the harm you cause the environment. I will rent forever, I guess… Peace, Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/08/06/gotta-go-ekphrastic-poem-for-joseph/

  3. What a noble thought…
    Too often we end up caring ONLY about ourselves, while so easily forgetting there’s a lot around us affecting a lot many others as well!
    I really liked how your writing (and thought process) transformed to one of real compassion..very sweet..

  4. we have dear that sleep in our back yard….they eat off the grape vine…i feel for them as well…we have taken so much of their land they are left to forage where they can….and while the drought has hurt, i think we sustain all the more in letting them eat…

    • I come from a family of farmers two generations back. I married a man from a family of ranchers. People who work the land are one with it. They know they are kin to the animals, the land, the water, the clouds, the rain, the sky are one ecosystem (though they would not use that word)…but now conglomerates make their businesses and the skies this year don’t cloud, the rain forest is lost and that generator of fresh water, new growth is sacrificed to man’s greed. If the bees, birds, and deer go, we will not be far behind. Indeed, a tender and touching piece.

  5. Ah, I see now: you’re the lady of the llamas and the goats.
    You had some great images of kid goats playing around on the back of a more or less patient llama quite a while ago. I can still see it in my mind’s eye.

  6. “A tranquil private moment I spy-
    the beauty of Diana’s creature,
    her serenity nearly moved me to tears.”

    Weighing these tears against the tears of failure in the economics of survival seems a luxury to many farmers. I like how you balance the two in this poem. I am not sure I would have the grace to leave her there and return home “grateful for all that I have.” Yet when/if I am certain that there is no possible recovery from the drought, that equalizes my plight with the plight of the dear. I can imagine wanting to lay down with her in a shared worry about the future and a sharing of present resources.

    I love poetry that induces such thinking without demanding it!
    Thnak you.

      • So hard to decide what shall live and what die. Is one allowed to put down deer when they threaten your crops?
        I killed 200 plus ugly slugs and snails midnight last night, which are destroying my garden. More and more , numbers increasing all the time. But it makes me feel dreadful destroying so much well-functioning life.

      • The loss to deer is just a part of farming. There is no way to prevent it because there are so many. Most years I wouldn’t be out there keeping such a close eye on the corn’s progress to notice her.

  7. I so love this. We’ve taken so much from these creatures and, we give nothing back to them in return. This puts it all so much into a rightful perspective, doesn’t it. I saw a picture yesterday of pigs on a farm who were all laying down on their sides in long oval shaped metal cages that didn’t even give them room to stand, so, all they could do was lay there and (hopefully) sleep their lives away and, we call ourselves civilized. I can see the need to farm for food but, I cannot see the need for such cruelty by humans to do this to other creatures which have as right to life and freedom we so desperately fight to keep from being lost.
    So glad you counted your own blessings from seeing this beautiful creature and acknowledging her struggle simply to want to survive.
    Very touched by this.

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