The Harvest

by Stephen Paden


my fingers bleed through dirty rags
on fields of plastic body bags
ceramic sun, just this one
a golden sea of napalm
I taste the rust, metallic dust
that settles in my lungs
a word so shrill (once venom filled)
now rests upon my tongue
this leathered skin I’m living in
encased inside a tomb
my eyes towards the brighter shores
those days inside the womb
I take the knife and bleed the cow
whose hoof print sets the pace
when summer seeks the coming weeks
of winter’s own disgrace


I feel the sun and start to run
towards brighter, golden lands
where poppies grow where leaves don’t fall
and thorns won’t bleed our hands
in this world of golden fields
with seasons long and sure
we’ll dance amid the yellow grass
and bathe in rivers pure
the coolness of the gentle streams
whose ends we cannot see
we’ll swim below where turtles crawl
and gently kiss their cheeks
the crystal view from down below
much different than before
when earth was young and men were dumb
when nations were at war
those crimson fields are gone for now
and in their place tall grass
from which we see a crystal sea
from a crystal looking glass
the fish swim by and tickle our skin
and worry not for life
they will not see the dullest hook
nor feel the sharpest knife
we sink below the water’s edge
the river’s rocky floor
the light shines down from up above
as we crawl towards the shore
our head pops out and the wind blows in
the fields still golden brown
the pleasant wisp of windy reeds
the pasture’s only sound
a darker cloud forms in the east
and moves towards these fields
the whispering wheat of golden grain
grows darker, darker still
no shining sun can pierce the cloud
that settles overhead
but the field still sways in darker waves
upon this earthly bed

Victory Field

the tears above fall to the ground
and soak the roots below
the golden wheat although it frowns
will even stronger grow
the cloud goes by the sun comes out
new warmth against the wheat
prepares the field for harsher times
within the coming weeks
though weathered now and beaten down by rain and thunderclouds
the wheat will rise to sunny skies
and surrender to the plows

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