Today at the Ranch

by Steve Meador
FreeWrights Peer Review
Highly Commended, April 2010
Judged by Fiona Sampson


What is it inside the imagination
that keeps surprising us
–Charles Wright

9:00 am

I have found a shovel.
The handle is broken,
there is a small crack
in its throat. But it is
still good in structure
and could be repaired
for use in your garden
or your yard. Perhaps
it could scoop fallen
leaves of magnificent
color, or snow bland
beyond all description.
Who wants this shovel
someone pitched from
a car or truck, into my
pasture, where the cows
eye it with fear and wild
animals smell the danger
of man. Who would like
to take this shovel, make
it whole and usable again?

Noon

Who will buy this goat
with a face like a sage
and a mellow voice
that beckons the early
evening? Will someone
take this fine animal
and let her see what lies
beyond the wire fence
that butts tightly against
the wood water trough?
She is only familiar
with the ground in a pen
found at the southeastern
corner of the northern
half of a section of land.
She is most ignorant
of wars and the actions
of politicians eager
to make her life better.
She merely seeks to be
a goat free of bondage.

3:00 pm

A rusty scythe crusted
with more than forty
years of chaff and dust
is this day recovered
from beneath the rubble
of a collapsing tin shed.
Its corroded blade once
sliced through ripe grain
used to make the bread
which fed the family.
Then out of the ground
or down from the sky
its sharp inner curve
came cloaked in silence
to reap the gift of God.
It became the symbol
of all things non grata.
Accept this implement,
for past indiscretions
often are by the hands
of others, not ourselves.


Highly commended for the trope of giving each stanza a time as well as a place – which locates us very successfully. And for the attention to nearly-regular stresses per line when the temptation in this kind of poem is to go for touchy-feely free verse. --Fiona Sampson

  • January 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      How the Wind Works
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Sleep Walker
      by Brenda Levy Tate
      PenShells

      Third Place

      The Woman Who Grew up in My House Finds Me on Facebook and Comes to Take a Look Around
      by Antonia Clark
      The Waters

  • December 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Tires
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Babilu

      Second Place

      Scouring Pots While the World Ends
      by Elizabeth Koopman
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Poetry in the Cultural Revolution
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters