December morning finds them quiet
iron and steel and rubber
engineered to tasks
now, just sitting

Days and nights they thundered
through the fields of black
lifting, turning, stroking
the soils that yielded plenty
chisel plows, men call them
they scratch nature’s back
opening her skin
to air and water
microbes breathe
earthworms relax
stalks and leaves asunder
ready for winter’s freeze and thaw
bugs and weeds disturbed
springtime will find fields waiting
to receive the seeds again

Cold, the metal sits
awaiting repairs, replacement parts
final shots of grease
all done

Once was ‘man and beast’
now still man, but beast is motor
and hoe has grown and grown
so one man’s labor
is multiplied, again and again and again

One hundred fifty two
the current number speaks
one farmer, American,
feeds himself
and another hundred fifty two
Food, fiber, fuel
the soil, the seed, the labor
sun and heaven sent rain
combine with design
engineering, science, factories
education, capital, government
All come together
to make a machine

til next season
But not the farmer, no,
he’ll sit at desk and figure
go to meetings
ponder ‘ever better’
on he goes
to make it so

Lin 11/07