Keeper of the Fields

I will be attending the Austin International Poetry Festival later this week. In honor of that, I am posting the poems I plan to read at the festival.


Like his father

and his father before him

This way of life

coursed through his veins

Up before the morning sun

reflected off silos in the fields

Out the door before the kettle

cooled on the wood-fired stove

Moving with purpose

he paused briefly to caress

sleepy-eyed barn cats

Meowing their morning greeting

Pitchfork in calloused hands

he swung open a heavy gate

and set to work, his well-worn boots

sinking into the fresh dirt he labored to uncover

Like his father

and his father before him

he worked the fields until the evening sun

lost its battle with the relentless moon

Under a blanket of starry skies

that bathed his land in a soft glow

He rested on his porch, barn cats at his feet

A smile on his lips and satisfaction in his heart

Reflecting with intent

he paused briefly to give thanks

to a lot in life

that filled him with purpose

Folding dirt-stained hands

that would never quite come clean

He rocked slowly on that creaky porch

surveying his part in the rebirth that is Spring

Like his father

and his father before him

and like his son, folding his own dirt-stained hands

as he rocked beside him


  1. This is terrific writing!

    I’m kind of sad, I live in Austin for 4 years, up until August 2017, and never went to the AIPF. I’ll have to check it out next year if I’m back in Texas!

    I had a wonderful time reading various poems on your site and love your style.



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