Posts Tagged ‘salmon’

In winter when the grain was gone and grass no longer grew,
We’d come back home from school to farm, but I was not yet
For, waiting was some home work that no teacher e’er assigned –
I had to feed the cows and sheep before I could unwind.
It mattered not the weather; for, in fact, when it was worse,
The sheep with little helpless lambs were first to feel its curse.
And sheep would be quite sheepish if they only had the brains
To know that they were brainless, with no sense to take the pains
To show up for a feeding and some shelter from the cold,
To let the shepherd help them by residing in his fold.

I’d change my clothes from scholar to a rugged winter wear.
I needed it so weather and the feeding pens I’d bear.
I’d head into the pasture for the pesky flock of sheep
Who didn’t have the sense to know I’d food and place to sleep.
Most days they were not driven; one would break and all the rest
Would, brainless, blindly bolt as if the moron knew what’s best.
And I, the two-legged sheepdog, would then run as fast I could
To head them off before they ran back to the distant wood.
For when one broke, then three or four, it was a second more
Ere all the flock fled off as one, like clouds first drop, then pour.

Then after many starts and stops, the stupid sheep would find
The gate where they’d been driven by the guide dog for the blind.
The Einstein cows were often at the barn for cake and hay.
And when they weren’t, I’d honk the horn and they’d be on their way.
The sheep were penned; the cows were not. It’s always lawless fools
Who need a taser, chain, or cell, and many extra rules.
The cows would low to call along the stragglers as they came,
And some would be as anxious for the food as fools for fame.
They’d break into a run and bawl, the placid driven mad.
They’d sense enough to know the food would make them full and

The weather was a problem like the last starred one in math;
I sometimes felt its apathy and sometimes felt its wrath.
But one day winter elements were my farm chemistry,
All mixed together in a blast that shook the leave-less tree.
It was a cold day and the front would make it colder still.
I donned a coat, a cap, to ward off winter’s deep’ning chill
And left the house reluctantly ‘neath clouds of sullen gray.
The mercury was falling in the north wind’s one act play.
I knew the cows would come themselves to crowd the fence for food
And wished the sheep would have some sense, for chasing I’d no

When sheep all penned and cows come home – the norther filled the
I pulled my cap down o’er my ears with hands grown cold, since bare.
I fed the cows their hay and cake; got sheep their cottonseed –
I carried, in an icy mist, two buckets for that breed.
Across an empty pen I went, in growing bitter cold.
I set my buckets down so metal gate I could take hold.
And as I reached to open it, my hand froze to the bar.
And there I was in ice and wind with nearest help afar,
A salmon who had jumped the falls, but snatched by grizzly’s paw.
All of a sudden, I was loose! – my warmness made it thaw!

My teacher never asked that I write down what I had learned
From failing at a test that left me shaken and concerned.
But one who fails will only fail if he clings to mistakes,
And does not rise with new resolve and an adjustment makes.
And I could see one must prepare, and for swift changes plan,
For times may come impossible and none is Superman.
Those were some lessons that I learned that I will ne’er forget
For fresh is Winter’s icy grip that I remember yet.
And that one lesson is, perhaps, the greatest of them all –
That learning’s best when one’s mind stays within the Teacher’s thrall.


© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2015.


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