So bare, this pasture, you can
see a ground squirrel running
at 300 yards, just ahead

of his light-brown dust trail
streaming to join the dirty air.
Much fewer now with no grass

since their bumper crop last spring,
no place to hide but in a hole
from coyotes, bobcats and hawks.

So bare, these hillsides rising
in dawn’s first light, silhouettes
of cows and calves in clouds

walking off the tops of ridges,
ambling from the high stubble
towards the only water

for a mile along the creekbed
of dry sand and cobbles, sycamores
dressing early for Halloween.

Sixty years ago, an old man
with dirty hands and hat,
bib overalls and grease

whittled a willow-fork
to show me how and where
he was going to drill.


4 responses to “SIGNIFICANT IMPACT

  1. Wonderful poem, John. We can see it all so clearly (and dustily).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This one makes me think of the Sand Hills.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think of my father’s foresight, 60 years ago, to drill the well. In those days, all they had were cable tools, about 60 feet to bedrock, but it’s served the cattle well.


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