Great Poem

This is for all those who have worked very hard for something and saw it go down the drain, but wouldn’t change what they did. And for anyone else who cares to read it!

Soybeans’ by Thomas Allen Orr

The October sky was warm and musky, blowing

Over brown fields, heavy with the fragrance

Of freshly combined beans, the breath of harvest.

He was pulling a truckload onto the scales

At the elevator near the rail siding north of town

When a big Cadillac drove up. A man stepped out

Wearing a three-piece suit and a gold pinky ring.

The man said he had just invested a hundred grand

In soybeans and wanted to see what they looked like.

The farmer stared at the man and was quiet, reaching

For the tobacco in the rear pocket of his jeans,

Where he wore his only ring, a threadbare circle rubbed

By working cans of dip and long hours on the backside

of a hundred acre run. He scooped up a handful

Of small white beans, the pearls of the prairie saying:

Soybeans look like a foot of water on the field in April

When you’re ready to plant and can’t get in;

Like three kids at the kitchen table

Eating macaroni and cheese five nights in a row;

Or like a broken part of the combine when

Your credit with the implement dealer is nearly tapped.

Soybeans look like the prayers bouncing off the ceiling

When prices on the Chicago grain market start to drop;

Or like  your old man’s tear when you tell him

How much the land might bring in subdivisions.

Soybeans look like the first good night’s sleep in weeks

When you unload at the elevator and the kids get Christmas.

He spat a little juice on the tire of the Cadillac,

Laughing despite himself and saying to the man,

Now maybe you can tell me what a hundred grand looks like.

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