Thursday May 19, 2011

Phoebe in the barnyard, pewee in the woods. What is it about cleared land that turns a lilting refrain into a burden, a shrill work song?

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  1. A PILGRIM SONG

    When the gleaners return from potato patches at sundown,
    they trudge back to their homes to the beat of a quiet refrain:

    “This land will be clear again, this crop will be good again.
    We leave the roots to sprout at night, the leaves in the morning.
    This land will be good again, this home will be fed again.
    We leave the fires beneath cauldrons burning until morning.”

    What is it about cleared land that turns a lilting refrain
    Into a burden, a shrill work song? What is it about the song
    That lifts the load brought back into homes in the evening?
    The rhythm of work is the rhythm of life—a song’s long refrain.

    —Albert B. Casuga
    05-19-11

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