Poetry August 1954

Ox-Pull: Canaan Fair

OLD before Odysseus failed to plow his son,
great-flanked oxen knew the drag, the burden
man devised beyond his strength to pull.
Now lever, wheel, and piston make a spectacle
of strength, but still the heave of shoulder,
haul of yoke, drag slabbed granite older
than Egypt, dredging a stone-sled up
through Europe to this new country fair.
And under oxblood maple-turn, the herd whip
Spins a locust song in the Indian Summer air.

Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from LETTERS FROM A DISTANT LAND by Philip Booth, Copyright © Philip Booth, 1957

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