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…I sauntered on home resolved by the pain to be governed less by the stomach and more by the brain.
By Lee N. Hulm
It is my intention that these poems bring to mind the simple pleasures of life on the farm in bygone days: independence, imagination, harmony with nature and lack of pretense. Rural farm living allowed for a contemplative approach to life that I believe has been drowned out by all the noise and hubbub of modern times. It appears to me that we are about to lose an entire value system, and I don’t know how we go about replacing the spirit and tenacity of our ancestors. Although writing poetry is something I do for pure enjoyment, I take the role seriously. For that reason I try to make the verse straightforward enough to evoke the homespun charm of the family farm in a way that is accessible to all readers.
Lee N. Hulm, poet
My dad wore bib overalls… Oshkosh, by gosh, is what they were called with a loop for a hammer and stripes down the middle and bronze colored snaps that fastened to straps.
And the caps that he wore? Soon soiled they were from hard work and sweat and yet I never saw him throw one away. And his shoes? Well, they fit and that’s about it… they wouldn’t have won an award for style though many a mile he walked in each pair.
And the shirts that he donned on his stocky frame? Just plain cloth home-sewn, all one and the same—-no fuss, no mess, no need to impress… for farmers aren’t models whose fashi-on sets trends, but they are good people, hard workers, fine friends.
The Rooster’s Voice
The initial sound that I often heard was the rooster’s voice as that obnoxious bird announced the retreat of night and morning’s light and roused me from my sleep.
No lottery to claim, no endearing call to fame… that feathered creature’s message came as unwelcome news:
“Get up, get out of bed you sleepy head!” is what it read, “There’s work to do . . . cows to milk and pigs to feed and don’t forget the oats to seed!”
Indeed! So I would stir from my snug retreat and greet the morn and contemplate poisoning the corn that I fed that bird;but then my mind would factor in other ways that days begin and I’d conclude the rooster rude but gentle by comparison.
And when I’d consider all I’d done in daylight’s sun I’d have no choice but to admit the rooster right and that was it . . .for the rooster knew what we’ve merely heard about the fabled worm and the early bird.
My grandma was a natural poet— a philosopher, it’s fair to say; and although I didn’t always show it I listened carefully to the things she said, and in her words I read an understanding of the “why” of life yet uncommon in present day.
“Born of meaning our lives must be— God has purpose in you and me” is a quote I note quite frequently from a poem she wrote, and I often wonder how can it be that she found the timeto compose her thoughts using words that rhyme in the midst of the demanding clime of those homestead years?
Is that an ability that came easily? I struggle mightily to do the same; and although I’ll never achieve the fame that grandma did in the family, the impression that she left on me has a lot to do with the way I view life’s happenings.
As grandma might say about an alternative response to another day . . .welcome it gladly for each one brings the duty and beauty of common things.
In the pasture due east of where the farmstead lay on what was a bright and cheery summer day I happened upon some chokecherry trees ripe with berries quite sure to please my appetite.
So ignoring the tune carried along by the breeze and the melody’s creator, the bumble bees, I scaled the first tree and went right to work eating what I could and storing the rest in my shirt.
Then all of a sudden came a pain in my back and figuring at once that I was under attack I scrambled down from that tree, no haste did I lack, and I killed that old bee that was stinging me. But then I discovered much to my chagrin that I had spilled what I’d stored… should I climb up again?
Nope! About the bees—not the birds—I was now better schooled, and while my tastebuds said yes, my mind overruled… so I sauntered on home resolved by the pain to be governed less by the stomach and more by the brain.
This poems are included in Lee N. Hulm’s book Songs of the meadowlark. Autographed copies can be acquired directly from the author at 3033 North 148th Drive, Goodyear, AZ. 85338; phone number (623) 536-1658.