My father was a tall man and yet the ripened rye
Would come above his shoulders, the spears shot up so high.
My father was a tall man and yet the tasseled corn
Would hide him when he cut the stalks upon a frosty morn.
The green things grew so lushly in the valley of my birth,
Where else could one witness the luxuriance of earth?
The plow would turn so rhythmically the loose, unfettered loam,
There was no need of effort to drive the coulter home.
My father walked behind his team before the sun was high,
Fine as a figure on a frieze cut sharp against the sky.
And when he swung the cradle in the yellow of the grain,
He could command all eyes around, or when he drove the wain.
I wonder if his acres now that lie so far away
Are waiting for his footprint at the coming of the day.
I wonder if the brown old barn that still is standing long
And ghostly cattle in the stalls are waiting for his song.

Source: Father: An Anthology of Verse(EP Dutton & Company, 1931)

Jessie B. Rittenhouse

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