This is another one of those poems about one small thing – the way stones in a field get scratched by farm equipment.

Tillage Marks

On this flat stone,
too heavy for one man alone
to pick up and carry
to the edge of his field,
are the faint white marks
of a plow, one plow
or many, the sharp blade
crisscrossing its face
like a lesson scratched there
in chalk, the same lesson
taught over and over,
to one man alone in his field
for fifty or sixty years,
or to fifty such men,
each alone, each plow striking
this stone, in this field
which he thought to be his.

Poet Laureate Ted Kooser – "Tillage Marks"


Other Poems by Ted Kooser:

"Abandoned Farmhouse"
"Barn Owl"
"City Limits"
"The Great Grandparents"
"Great Plains in Winter"
"How to Foretell a Change
   in the Weather"
"In the Corners of Fields"
"Riding the Bus in Midwinter"
"So This is Nebraska"
"Spring Plowing"
"There is Always a Little Wind"