You will see him light a cigarette
At the hail door careless, leaning his back
Against the wall, or telling some new joke
To a friend, or looking out into the secret night.
But always his eyes turn
To the dance floor and the girls drifting like flowers
Before the music that tears
Slowly in his mind an old wound open.
His red sunburnt face and hairy hands
Were not made for dancing or love-making
But rather the earth wave breaking
To the plough, crops slow-growing in his mind.
He has no girl to run her fingers through
His sandy hair, and giggle at his side
When Sunday couples walk. Instead
He has his awkward hopes, his envious dreams to yarn to.
But ah in harvest watch him
Forking stooks, effortless and strong -
Or listening like a lover to the song
Clear, without fault, of a new tractor engine.
~James K. Baxter