January 2, 2013KR OnlinePoetry

Country Ways

If she be not nimble, she that holdeth a bucket will be trod upon by the sow.

Whoso eateth banana shall be set upon by the angry hive for the scent is signal.

If the knife be not honed, it shall not open sack nor belly, and the labor shall be more.

Trust not the headlight in October dark, for wet-piled leaf may yet be toad, mid-leap from road to bed of weeds.

If your pillow’s plagued with acorn, if the yellow lentil move from kitchen shelf to sock, who will not praise the provident mouse?

Surely deer will eat the hydrangea, surely they will. Who is the fool who knows what must needs be and yet will plant hydrangea?

Woe to the sleeper who doth not first seek the spider hidden in the sheet.

Remember ye: close the gate or the beast within will on the instant be without.

Who doth not clean his gutter will behold the work of rain. For mighty is water and many its paths.

No hole is deep enough to keep the coyote from the carcass meat.

There is a fading in the trees and leaflessness? All withereth, except the moon.

Let the autumn cricket in the barn; it pleaseth the turkey whose days are numbered.

The hunger of the rat increaseth with success. Let death be farmer’s wit.

The skunk that by day sleepeth in the nesting box hath eaten of the hen. Betake the rifle and dispatch this appetite or after eat no egg.

What is’t that instructs the bee: aster, goldenrod, and buckwheat call for industry, else bitterest cold will come and want of nectars with it.

The flock that practiceth doth fill the sky with utile Vs or stranger patterns, reeling. These grant a warning pleasure to the eye: comes winter soon. Too soon comes winter.

Maggie Schwed’s first full-length book of poems, Driving to the Bees, will be published by Black Lawence Press in June, 2014.  Her chapbook, Out of Season, was published in 2008 by Finishing Line Press.  She is a livestock farm assistant at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.