Our hands reach for the plough and spade
to loosen the soil annealed by neglect;
but now is the season of sickle and blade.
When it was spring in this garden, we laid
plans for an orchard that showed our respect
for limits. We wielded the plough and spade
to pledge our troth with the earth. When did
we break that covenant? When, grow conscript
to greed? They grew dull, our sickle and blade,
we failed to cut back the blight. Now earth bleeds,
bitten by the thorn of a rose in whose hips
are stored all our silent poisons, and the plough
is slugged. Cut the cane’s throat. Unbraid
the fields from the bindweed’s twining clasp;
song of water and whetstone on blade,
song of the scythe parting vines overhead.
Bees swarm to the light that warms a new glade,
but not here. Lay down your plough and spade
—quick, it’s late! Sharpen your sickle and blade.