ADVICE TO MY SON WHO WANTS TO TAKE OVER THE FARM
(printed with permission from the author. You can read more of Greg’s writing at www.poeticfarmer.com)
Learn to recognize the cow that’s
going blind early, give her extra time
and never separate her from the herd.
Get rid of the bull when he postures
sideways toward you, lowers his head
and froths while pawing the dirt.
Keep the herd away from the woodlot
during deer season.
When retrieving the herd develop
a fine cattle call, breathing from
the diaphragm, don’t be shy and
practice patience, the herd will
soon learn to follow the herdsman home.
When spreading manure always start
at the furthest point from the field
entrance and travel into the wind
Choose a partner wisely, one
that can help birth a calf, help
with a midnight I.V. of calcium,
and work when it seems the rest
of the world is off. It will help
if she is an eternal optimist.
When faced with tough decisions
look for affirmation in nature,
the coyote’s call, a swirl of buntings,
the diminutive fruit fly that lands
on your hand while you ponder.
Look for the beauty around you
every day, even in stretches
of winter when the sun remains
behind a wall of impenetrable gray
for what seems like weeks.
Keep a hammer, safety knife, and
fencing pliers in each tractor along
with a pair of denim gloves.
Never say, “I can literally manage
my entire farm with my iphone.”
Be a bridge builder, not burner.
Don’t neglect your spiritual development.
Lastly, don’t let yourself become trapped
in a body that refuses to dance.