The original poems for Songs of the Iron Men
(Page 2 of 7)
It was nothing like this modern sort of farming with its turkeys,
and its sheep and hogs, and cows and hens, and beets and spuds, and hay.
It was something big and splendid like the swing and sweep of seasons.
Seems as if the Lord intended men to farm that grander way.
Those were the days of genuine thrashing - yes, I used to own a “steamer.”
Nothing like those modern tractors with their sharp, staccato bark.
Oh, to hear an engine chugging, and a blower’s hollow moaning.
And at dusk and dawn the whistles as they talked across the dark!
We’d start thrashing in September, when the lazy winds were sleeping,
and the air was still and balmy, and a purple haze was spread
over all the distant landscape. Evenings stillness brought the eerie
minor chant of far off blowers as the sun sank round and red.
Always liked to watch the bundle racks roll in beside the feeder.
And the ease with which the spikes would toss the heavy bundles in.
Where the band cutters could seize them - that was poetry of motion,
Then the growling concaves crunched them and away the chaff would spin.
Thrashed a quarter section daily; but in fields where straw was heavy,
or was damp, and we had failed to clear off all the shocks by night,
we would fire near-by straw pile; as the flames lit earth and heaven
we would finish with a flourish in a blaze of ruddy light.
Gone forever, those great straw fires, gone the blowers’ somber chanting
And the giant drive-belt’s humming and the rich, warm smell of grain.
It's the price we pay for progress, wheat no longer rules the Valley.
With its passing went a splendor we shall never see again.
On the Farm 50 Years Ago
Traditional American folk song arranged by Harry Fischback; from the September/October 1957 issue of Iron-Men Album
Down on the farm about half past four
I slip on my pants and sneak out the door
out of the yard I run like the dickens
to milk ten cows and feed the chickens;
clean out the barn, curry Nancy and Jiggs,
separate the cream and slop the pigs;
work two hours and eat like a Turk
and then by heck I'm ready for a full days work.
Then I grease the wagon and put on the rack,
throw a jug of water in an oldgrain sack,
Hitch up the horses and hurry down the lane-
Must get the hay in for it looks like rain.
Look over yonder, sure as I’m born,
Cattle on the rampage and cattle in the corn,
start across the medder, run a mile or two,
heaving like I’m wind broke, get wet all through.
Get back to the horses then for recompence
Nancy gets a-straddle the barbed wire fence;
Joints all a-aching and muscles in a jerk
I’m fit as a fiddle for a full days work.
Work all summer ’till winter is nigh
then figure up the books and heave a big sigh;
Worked all year, didn’t make a cent,
got less cash now that I had last spring.
Now some people tell us there ain't any hell
but they never farmed and they can't tell.
When spring rolls around I take another chance
while the fringe grows longer on my old grey pants -
Give my s'penders a hitch, my belt another jerk -
And then by heck I'm ready for another years work.
Page: << Previous 1
| 2 | 3
| Next >>