Farm Poem 11

//Farm Poem 11

Farm Poem 11

Ovid tells the story of Cyparissus,
A boy who carelessly killed his beloved
Stag and, heartbroken by its death,
Mourned himself into a cypress.

I, too, was that child at age nine,
Extracting an arrow from a guinea fowl
Which, moments earlier, had been cackling
Warnings from a walnut branch.

If I could have metamorphosed into wood
I would have; believing—not believing—
The arrow would penetrate;
I scrubbed the bloody shaft against the dark soil,

And confessed, the instant my parents arrived home,
My shame. So when I heard, thirty-five years later
That our prized ram had been gut-shot,
Twenty yards from a neighboring deer-stand,

A slow death, hooves carving
Figure eights in the dusty loam,
I thought of a boy in a tree,
His finger on the trigger as the ram grazed near,

Nearer, wondering what happens next,
Wondering, how the entry wound could
Be as small as a thumbnail, innocuous,
Yet the exit the width of his fist;

Wondering, when the light faded matte
In the white ram’s eyes, unblinking,
How he might grieve his way, forever,
Into the closest, deepest, blackest woods.

By | 2019-04-08T21:23:04-04:00 April 8th, 2019|Farm|4 Comments

About the Author:

Forrest Pritchard is a full-time sustainable farmer and New York Times bestselling author, holding a BA in English and a BS in Geology from William & Mary. Smith Meadows, his farm, was one of the first “grass finished” operations in the country, and has sold at leading farmers’ markets in the Washington DC area for two decades. Pritchard's books have received starred reviews from The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, NPR, and more.


  1. Eliot Brenner April 9, 2019 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Darn, you’re good. Thanks.

  2. Sharon Barbee Fletcher April 9, 2019 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Haunting and absolutely beautiful

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