Thursday, January 12, 2012

Poetry Jam - "The Tobacco Farmers"

Farm Security Admin.,  Jack Delano, photographer
The Tobacco Farmers


Back in the day
he was a dashing young man, 
and I a country girl, willowy and strong,
both of us full of zest and glee,
first generation polish stock, we.
Toiled side by side, 
he decapitating flowers and
suckers stalk after stalk, 
stooped, sometimes crawling
between row upon row 
of never-ending filth.
I hoed and hoed, black
calloused hands better than gloves.
Every hour or so, his glance, a smile
would lighten my load.
Mid morning break, 8:45, 
already exhausted
somehow kept going 'till high noon
clothes soaked through,
we’d lean our backs 
against solitary bleached barn.
Oh, the blessed shade, our haven 
in the middle of hell
and we’d consider ourselves lucky
if a snake sighted, the bigger
the better, for we felt reassured
the monstrous rats would be
held at bay for another day.
And so precious minutes, we rested
hands tingling, swollen
blisters burst, pink, tender
skin didn’t stand a chance 
of ever remaining baby soft.
Back into the field, 
never enough water
to quench our thirst
often feeling dizzy and nauseous,
flamethrower upon our backs. 
Times were tough
possessions few,
but my Matka she tell us
“Enjoy this freedom” 
and so we did
dignity, self respect, and laughter
filled all our days.

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, January 12, 2012

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This is linked to "Poetry Jam" - Laugh in the Face of Everything.  The awesome photo prompt is at the top of this post.

17 comments:

Helen said...

This oozes strength and character, Ms. Margaret!

George said...

Really wonderful, Margaret! Very well written with beautiful imagery. Well done, indeed!

Carrie Burtt said...

Love what you did with this Margaret!!! Marvelous writing indeed!!!

Janet said...

Like being there when I read this! Great insight, Margaret. You are one super-talented girl!

TexWisGirl said...

very nice!

Enchanted Oak said...

Wondeful, vivid and strong! A really fine contribution to the Jam, Margaret!

Mary said...

I really got into this scene, Margaret! Very descriptive write.

Ms. Becky said...

you did an excellent job of weaving a tale for this scene. I love that photo too. you write very well - evidence of your vivid imagination. thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hello, I truly appreciate it. happy day to you.

magiceye said...

vivid imagery... fluid expression!
loved it!

Claudia said...

there are the most beautiful moments in the middle of hard work...and you found one and put it into words...really nice margaret..enjoyed..

Mama Zen said...

You really brought this to life, Margaret. Great job!

izzy said...

Something is off I left you a message on here- Yesterday ?
Love the photo anyway!

lisa said...

This is wonderful Margaret!
Lots of feeling in this one.

jabblog said...

You've captured the hardship of farming so well. It really is blood, sweat and tears.

Margaret said...

I did love these two farmers... Thank you for the wonderful words and pat on the back! :)

Trellissimo said...

Laughter takes the edge off hard work...

Margaret said...

Thank you everyone. I have been a bit lax in getting around to blog viewing and commenting as we are involved with a theatre play last week and this. Check my Saturday post out ... I have photos of my husband in "Nunsense Amen".