My grandfather and I, with Riley the horse,
took four days to hay the acres of grass
from the fields on both sides of the house.
After Riley pulled the mowing machine
all morning, he drank a bucket of water,
then pulled a horserake and turned the hay
to dry in the sun, then heaped it together.
With a scythe I trimmed the uncut hay
around boulders and trees, by stone walls,
and raked every blade to one of Riley’s piles.
My grandfather pitched it up on the rack
where I climbed to load it, fitting forkfuls
in place. We left behind us hayfields
as neat as lawns.
as neat as lawSixty-odd years later,
a farmer’s machines take alfalfa down
in an afternoon. Next morning, an engine
with huge claws grapples round green bales
onto trucks, leaving loose hay scattered
and grasses waving at the field’s margin.
From the porch where I rock with my book,
I marvel at acceleration and dishevelment.