Grandfather’s Farm: A Eulogy

I should have asked you to teach me
how to sharpen a shovel,
change the oil in my car,
milk a cow, grow buckwheat.
Instead we fought, all down the years,
till I moved far away and
let distance do my talking.
Only since I’ve proved myself,
come into my own on our small farm,
taken up the reins of a way of life
you laid down decades past,
have we begun to speak.
Every antique in your house
had a purpose on its farm of origin.
Every antique in your house
came from a farm.
Copper wash kettles, iron kitchen tools,
ice hooks, cream pitchers, milking cans,
baking spoons, egg beaters, brace and bits, oil lamps,
weed hooks, vegetable knives, a bone saw,
a shot gun, the dinner bell, the quilts.
Farming has changed, your children have changed.
All these purposeful objects,
hand-crafted, used by your hands
or your mother’s hands,
are now investments, handed down to your children.
Investments in a past our future could resemble,
if we shape it so.
Grandpa, I’ll learn to sharpen a shovel
anyhow, on my own, as I’ve done everything.
But I should have let you teach me.

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