One of our regular contributors, Chath pierSath, is back in Bolton, Mass., after several months in Cambodia. We have light snow today, but with the mild weather this past week Chath was out pruning on the farm where he works. He sent this poem about the seasonal work on the farm. The birds and bees will be back soon.
By Chath pierSath
I lean against an apple tree to catch my breath,
The bark against me crusty and hard the deeper I breathe.
Pulses in the lungs, air of a vast monotone sky.
My three-layered clothes buffer the howling cold wind,
My ears hooded by a baseball cap pulled down low.
I rest between trees, combing against stubborn vines & suckers
That grow straight up under each tree. Twigs my rake can’t grab
Get stuck between sprouts. How long have I been here?
I prune these trees year to year. Hundreds in rows, big and tall ones
Hard to climb while the dwarfs are easy on my shoulders & neck.
I shear away crisscross branches, chop-chop sprouts on top
For sun to get in & to make room to spray to kill bad insects.
Aphids die, blight and rot go. The boom-spray rains a nuclear attack.
These apples trees are my life, my songs and my dances,
What I meditate on at first bloom. Buzzing bees bring me back,
Birds that had gone south return. Orioles, blue jays & catbirds.
The hawks are loud, especially the young learning to be good predators.
An American, I farm roots and routine, seven full days a week.
When the birds and bees are high on blossoms, I’m high on life,
And the serenity of sky. Birds on a mission to find love and food,
Trying to nest with what’s good: manmade string, straw, grass, pond clay.
Each day they dawn me a song. Whistle and sing.
I am webbed into their links of obligations, love and desire,
These freedom seekers on fire. I rake and rake all day,
After I’ve pruned and pruned into noon.
—Chath pierSath © 2020