Back when energy was cheap,
we lit smudgepots—ten cents/gallon
to keep from freezing an orange crop.

Manpower, six-bits/hour—fifty-five
hour-weeks bent to wooden handles
shoveling, hoeing weeks, or harnessing

a Cornbinder’s horsepower
when damn-near any Mom and Pop
could make a dollar from the earth

farming—a young man horseback
could ride all-day for almost free
and old cowboys worked for nothing.


We had lots of energy in the old days,
lots of hands we can’t afford
to hire anymore, water going deeper

and pump bills higher, we suck
the planet dry for expensive things
we never used to need

when energy was cheap.
With the sun on my face
and wind at my back,

I thought I would last forever
like the Eveready Bunny—
back when energy was cheap.

4 responses to “ALMOST FREE

  1. What a statement…


  2. Really enjoyed this poem. Thanks for sharing it, John.


  3. Thanks Paul, trust you’re well.


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