August    

 
The blond and weary rows of wheat

Wait for the reapers to come by;

The tasselled tops are almost white;

Another week, and they would die.

 

The scarlet giant machines deploy,

Like dragons on a field of gold;

Their tawny-chested drivers sway,

As, overborne, the stalks are polled.

 

Behind them soon is stubble ground

Bestrewn with megaliths of straw;

And there the harvest mice abound,

Safe from the combine’s clanking maw.

 

At evening, when the fields are left

Empty, the shadows slowly grow.

Do ghosts of poor men take their gift

Of gleanings by each seventh row?

 

This summer scene repeats until

The reapers reap no more, are dead;

But then their children’s children toil

To gather in the wheat for bread.