POETRY by Rees Shearer
By Rees Shearer | March 25, 2008Plowing New Land
Tear open to a weeping sky,
resistant sod, bare red dirt clods,
trod hard by time and neglect.
Before you, no farmer, tenant, peasant, liege or slave
executed her sacred trust.
Now, you come. Claim her.
Hoe her to bits; wrest her into rows.
Slave of soil, call yourself "Lord" of this acre.
To Earth you are a worm upon her altar cloth.
Strive to smoothe her gentle folds.
Sacrifice sweat and hope and grief. Bury doubt.
Set the germ of hope in this mud-bound firmament.
This season only does the land crave your favors.
Earthen arms will soon embrace you,
seducing you into her bed of clay.
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ABOUT THE POET:
Rees Shearer says, "The idea for 'Plowing New Land' came when a friend, who had recently developed his consciousness of the importance of land, was moving into a new house on land he had purchased. He was planning his first garden. My intent in the poem was to honor, mystify, and deepen newfound ties to the land."
Shearer has written poetry in fits and starts since about age 20 and has not sought a public audience for his poems until this year.
He lives with his wife Kathy, an author and publisher, in Emory, Va. and has lived in Washington County, Va. for 37 years. His family traces its roots in Virginia soil back to the 17th Century. He has been a community organizer, the cooperative manager for Abingdon's Cave House Craft Shop, a batik artist, and an elementary school counselor.
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by Rees Shearer
Above the market fiesta of bulbous melons,
hat-shaped fruits, variegated squash,
sun-braised loaves, stacked bic-a-brac,
swells a stench of death.
Yolk-yellow chicken feet
splay in stiff arabesque.
Whipped, these hens' eggs' whites
graced our gratis gringo Pisco Sours.
Frothy fresh, pungent spirits,
spiked with senorita's smile.
Intercession of the Virgin?
Let's have another round.
Playing Chicken with Death, our human dance
defies a silent, subterranean, seismic swell.
Eggshell earth cracking.
Here in ancient Pisco
just a gentle day ago, hens laid eggs,
red-shirted pupils streamed from school,
shouting, like in any town.
Now they're entombed beneath mud brick,
molded by ancestors, captive in their land,
impressed into heaven's service,
turning earth god, Pachamama, into sanctuary wall.
Please help Peru earthquake recovery: www.oxfamamerica.org
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Meet the poets featured in the April issue of A! MAGAZINE FOR THE ARTS and read their poetry by following the links below:
— Gretchen McCroskey
— Benjamin Dugger
— Warren Meredith Harris
— David Winship
— Henry McCarthy
— Lena Cantrell McNicholas
— Samuel Miller, M.D.
— Poetry Events
— Arts All Around: A Day Without Poetry by Barbara-lyn Morris
— Arts for Youth Spotlight: ETSU Senior Researches Japanese Poet
— Back to the main story by Rita Quillen
— Jane Hicks
— Felicia Mitchell
— Delilah O'Haynes
— Neva Bryan