Purple Blossom Parade by J. Beck (a special guest poem)

Audio Version of Purple Blossom Parade by J. Beck
An alfalfa field in full flower. Source: Sierragoddess

Is that hay ready to go
They will always say
And they already know
That purple blossoms are on parade

The Field knows and understands
The approaching banging sounds
And the oily smell filming the air.
There is a silence,
A hesitation
There is always a hesitation
Before the slamming flat sound
Of a steel deck onto the ground.
The tractor growls and recovers
roaring a cloud of rich black smoke.

The machine transfers power
With drive shafts & u-joints
Pulleys & belts
Knocking & slipping.
Just until
The sickle’s knives & guards meet
Comb & cut
The green, lush alfalfa.
Toppling the splendor purple flowering stands
Into the rollers
That smash the stems
Crushing and lay gently bruised
Into straight & narrow windrows.

The sun glares white & hot
Water is for sweat
Long-selves & hat protect
And a big fat pinch of chew
Chases the taste of diesel from your mouth.
You will be mowing
Hours & hours & hours
Going
Around & around & around
Until the entire field
Of hay & purple blossoms on parade
Is down.

Dead air of dust
Shattering leaf & dirt
The mower pushes & chase panicked butterflies
That flutter as fast as they can
Up & down
Up & down
As their deep green cover
Disappears behind them.
As the sickle slides from side to side
Back & forth
Back & forth
Constant
Endless
Forward motion
Relentless
Not reluctant
For there is no emotion associated
With machines
Only function
And the only function
Of this machine is to mow down hay.
Keep air in the tires
All moving parts greased
Check the knives & the guards
Before each start.

The crows are always the first to come
I have never figured out how they know.
Do they hear the sounds of the machinery?
Or do they actually smell the blood
Of slain rodents?
You hear a bang
You suppose it is a rock
Or perhaps a groundhog
(or the occasional rabbit or cat)
going through the rollers.
Those are the kills that bring those
Big ugly buzzards
Slow dark prehistoric forms
Lofting circles
Narrowing their scavenging
From above.

Until the shadow of the hawk
flashes across the ground.
The crows fly away
While the buzzards hop & sulk.
It doesn’t seem fair to them one against seven
But the hawk will fly down
Land in the middle of them circling the fresh kill.
Daring them
With out stretch wings
Staring down
But they will not look up
Only over at each other
Taunting one another to make a move
But they won’t.

They will allow the hawk to fly away with the kill
Pretend to chase
Only to follow
With hopes the hawk may drop the prize
From it’s mighty talons.
Those ugly buzzards will lose interest
And resume their
Lazy slow ring patterns
In search of their next find.

After a long
Long day
Just before the evening dew falls
And the old air turns new
The swooping swallows arrive in their formations
To fill their bellies with displaced leafhoppers
As you finish mowing out the V
And follow them back to the barn.

As you sit still wide-open
The tractor idles down
You feel a sense of accomplishment
Staring aimlessly into the dark
And smelling fresh cut hay
And purple blossoms on parade.

For more work from brilliant wordsmith J. Beck visit https://aplombstudioart.wordpress.com/

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