Donna J. Gelagotis Lee
On the Farm in Harbourton
Through the midline of the pasture, the stream
plunged, trickle and rush, over stone and rock,
up to thick wads of bank, grasses lying over
their wiry strands, as if waiting for the horses
to bring their muzzles and drink, as if here
were a fountain with its mark on the human
earth we strode over with intent and progress.
In our minds, the stream was going somewhere,
had come from somewhere, was feeding our livestock.
We wanted to put our lips there to feel the water’s caress.
Instead, we cupped our hands, made a container
to drink, removed ourselves, at least in our thought,
from the animals so that we could have dominion,
we could wrap our thoughts in rationalization,
nationalize our landmass, claim our water rights.
While the horses grazed in the upper pasture, pushing
the limits of its borders, we stayed far below, pushing
our lawn mowers, haltering the mares for studs,
coaxing colts to round us on lunge lines,
with our clicks and clucks and darts of words flung
the length of the rope. No wonder the horses bolted
for the top of the pasture when we set them free. No
wonder when we came upon the brook while walking
up to fetch them, we paused at the tap of the water’s
fine lap, its echo eddying into our ear canal, as if blood
could flow like an eternal stream.
If God could have stopped us,
he would have done it there. He would have had us bathe in the stream,
had it wash us like babes. We would have never known sin,
the way the earth does not know the reason for sin
and how to rectify it. And so it called to me one morning
with bells in a cumulous sky. I heard them swinging
in their drift, could clearly hear the flow over pebble and stone.