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The Failure


Tractor and combine axle-deep in muck,

seedcorn and soybeans frozen in the field,

the home farm pledged against a bumper yield,

he has run out of money, time and luck.


What would his frugal Swedish forebears think

to see their hard-won holdings on the block?

There is no solace for a laughing-stock

in woman's arms, religion or strong drink.


Any day now the banker will foreclose,

summon the sheriff and the auctioneers.

What will he tell his sons in twenty years?

He cannot wholly blame the early snows.


Timothy Murphy



From The Deed of Gift, Story Line Press,

1998.  Reprinted by permission of the author
and Story Line Press, Ashland, Oregon.


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