The Man With a Hoe

Palin and McCain  THE MAN WITH A HOE


Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages in his face,
And on his back, the burden of the world.
Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?

Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave
To have dominion over sea and land;
To trace the stars and search the heavens for power;
To feel the passion of Eternity?
Is this the dream He dreamed who shaped the suns
And marked their ways upon the ancient deep?
Down all the caverns of Hell to their last gulf
There is no shape more terrible than this–
More tongued with cries against the world’s blind greed–
More filled with signs and portents for the soul–
More packed with danger to the universe.

What gulfs between him and the seraphim!
Slave of the wheel of Capital, what to him
Are Plato and the swing of the Pleiades?
What the long reaches of the peaks of song,
The rift of dawn, the reddening of the rose?
Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;
Time’s tragedy is in that aching stoop;
Through this dread shape humanity betrayed,
Plundered, profaned and disinherited,
Cries protest to the Powers that made the world,
A protest that is also prophecy.

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
Is this the handiwork you give to God,
This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quenched?
How will you ever straighten up this shape;
Touch it again with immortality;
Give back the upward looking and the light;
Rebuild in it the music and the dream;
Make right the immemorial infamies,
Perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes?

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
How will the future reckon with this Man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings–
With those who shaped him to the thing he is–
When this dumb Terror shall rise to judge the world,
After the silence of the centuries?

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5 Responses to The Man With a Hoe

  1. Avatar Old Bogus says:

    What a wonderfully sexist headline with that picture next to it. You are now qualified to join the Republican Party. The Swift Boaters need some help.

  2. Avatar tony logan says:

    I love it when the reactionaries get to play the ‘You’re a racist!’ or ‘You’re a sexist!’ ACCUSATION GAME, and that’s the reason I posted this stuff, OldBogus, just to give your team an opportunity to do your thing. It really is so seldom that the Republican witch hunters can ever position a woman like Ann Coulter or Sarah Palin, or an Indian like Dinesh D’Sousa or a Black like Clarence Thomas, etc. into being in a liberal’s or radical’s line of fire, is it not?

    Hey! I say, too, that George Will is an old fart and he will be in town this next Monday, that senile degenerate! Call me out on my ageism why don’t you now, I mean just for kicks and laughs, Old Bogus? Please…? It’s just so funny when reactionaries play these games, because the liberals do it the best, not the Far Right. It’s just funny when they even try, which McCain and Palin will be trying so hard to do now.

    And for your info, I was merely imitating the Democratic Party liberals who will unknowingly get into a duel with The Republicans about who can be the nastiest? And the Republicans will be trying to play innocent, which will be a gas, don’t you think? Can they actually convince the public that the liberals are verbal torturers of innocent Christians, blah, blah, blah? They’ll try though!

    BTW, did you like the poem? I just altered that one word. We need more culture in our lives, and Sarah will be giving us all an opportunity to be so very cultured like herself. This election year will be a multi- ring circus! God Bless America!

  3. Avatar The 13th says:

    “He turned his back and walked away.
    Sayin: “Little miss, you’ll rue the day.
    “You’ll rue the day that you were born.
    “For givin’ me the devil ‘cos I wouldn’t hoe corn.”

    Lyrics from “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn” – a traditional folk ballad. A performance by the delightful Alison Krauss can be found at YouTube – and is much more colorful.

  4. Avatar tony logan says:

    Good music, 13th! but it’s not ‘sexist’ and we are in the middle of the election campaign where dirt must be thrown to take our minds away from the real issues that they pretend our votes will decide about.

    It’s not ageist either, and of course it’s not racist. So what’s the use of putting this fine music into our minds during the national US Jerry Springer Show? Remember ‘experience’ and ‘character’ are what will decide the Sheeple’s vote.

  5. Avatar The 13th says:

    Agreed it’s all starting to look like Jerry Springer land. Grab a chair(man) and throw.

    Glad you liked the song, Tony. I liked your poem and wanted to add to the hoedown. Here’s why I chose that piece.

    I thought the lyrics to be simple yet complex in resonance. The “lazy” lad warns a potential lover that convention will lead to a boring and non-profitable future. The song suggests that social norms are largely economical – and oft reinforced by heartless mimicry (“keeping up with the Jones”). It also suggests the potential disassociative fugue state and/or labels put upon those that don’t conform.

    Does this election have issues?!? Is it really a cliff hanger to watch slow motion re-runs of car that already drove over the bridge?

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