Monday, May 10, 2010

Working Hard

The gusty hot winds of south Texas have reminded me of those years long ago when summer arrived early, and so did summer work.  Outside jobs that nobody wanted to do usually paid a little more, and I took a few on the promise of a few cents extra per hour.  Our burning sugar cane fields have spread ash and smoke over the Rio Grande delta of late leaving most of us coughing and sneezing.  I was skinny back then, but I have no desire to try that weight loss program again.

I was a teacher
my salary was meager
I spent the summers
hauling hay.

The Texas sun
was searing at dawn
when I rose to see
if my hay truck
would start.

I climbed in the cab.
looked at the ground.
The truck had no floorboard
just blue smoke and sound.

The hay fields were strewn.
Square bales of alfalfa.
Heavy to lift,
tough to inhale.

We stacked them high
on the flatbed behind us.
One hundred and twenty
at twelve cents a bale.

We made for the barn.
A loft with no air flow.
Sweating and stacking
and swatting the wasps.

The scene was repeated
as long as the sun shone.
Then we, and the truck
coughed our way home.

Dennis Price

A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits.
Robert Heinlein


  1. About a hundred years ago I did my share of haying, I fear my career would be short these days.

    Your verse opened a few doors to bygone days.

    Thanks, AKA

  2. Thank You for posting this! I love your blog - keep up the great work!!

    Common Cents

    ps. Link Exchange???

  3. That was good. I could smell the heat and smoke in the air. I've had my share of chores doing things like that. I always dreaded, and still dread, the hottest part of summer here. It's so stifling. ;)

  4. I remember the first summer Jim and I were married, I drove the truck for the guys to load the hay bales onto. I had forgotten that. Glad you reminded me. Love your poetry, Cuz.

  5. Just wanted to say that John (my hubby) really enjoyed this poem because he identified so well with it. He did give a low whistle at the 12-cents-a-bale point.

  6. WT did his fair share of hauling hay around in Kansas...back in the good old days.


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