The Sower (Eastern France)


Familiar, year by year, to the creaking wain
Is the long road’s level ridge above the plain.
To–day a battery comes with horses and guns
On the straight road, that under the poplars runs,
At leisurely pace, the guns with mouths declined,
Harness merrily ringing, and dust behind.
Makers of widows, makers of orphans, they
Pass to their burial business, alert and gay.

But down in the field, where sun has the furrow dried,
Is a man who walks in the furrow with even stride.
At every step, with elbow jerked across,
He scatters seed in a quick, deliberate toss,
The immemorial gesture of Man confiding
To Earth, that restores tenfold in a season’s gliding.
He is grave and patient, sowing his children’s bread:
He treads the kindly furrow, nor turns his head.

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