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The Farmer

William Daniel Ehrhart - Thu, Mar 29th 2012

This poem is, I think, all about perseverance. What is perseverance ? Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance. Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint. Perseverance is trying again and again.




Each day I go into the fields

to see what is growing,

find what remains to be done.

It is always the same: nothing

is growing, everything needs to be done.

Plough, harrow, disc, water, pray

till the bones ache and my hands rub

blood-raw with honest labour -

all that grows is the slow

intransigent intensity of need.


I have sown my seed on soil

guaranteed by poverty to fail.

But I don't complain - except

to passers-by who ask me why

I work such barren earth.


They would not understand me

if I stooped to lift a rock

and hold it like a child, or laughed,

and told them it is their poverty

I labour to relieve. For them

I complain. A farmer of dreams

knows how to pretend. A farmer of dreams

knows what it means to be patient.

Each day I go into the fields.


American poet, William Daniel Ehrhart, served in Vietnam
and has become known as one of the 
Vietnam War Poets.

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