Thursday, March 3, 2016

Master of This Yoke

of this yoke
You made for me
leading me to this field

and I 
chose not
the yoke
nor the field

left to myself
I would perhaps 
have chosen
my stall
a secluded green meadow
a tree
to stand or lie beneath...
a stream.

These things haunt my dreams.

But the yoke chafes
reminding me 
of this dusty field
I stumble


trying to match strides
with my partner
(or is my partner matching his strides to mine?)
at last
I fall into step
as I learn
to walk together 
under this yoke
in this field

and it gets a little easier...

for what?
clods of dirt
down one long row
and back up the next
sweat on my shoulders
and the constant steady nearness
of my yoke-mate
sometimes too near, stifling
not near enough.

And is this why
You brought me from my stall?
To walk up and down together...
back and forth

You speak to me in strange syllables
as we turn down another row
painting pictures for me
of fields of grain
and of glory
of wine
and new corn in the winter
but all this 
I do not understand.
I can grasp
neither the beauty
nor the benefit

Are You fooling me?
after all
I know
that the corn in my trough
comes from a bin in the barn.

And as we turn in this brown field
and walk down yet another empty row
I dream

of my cool stall
of a quiet meadow

while You
of endless fields of golden grain.

I cannot see them. 


I'm beginning to want to.

And maybe 
as I learn more and more 
to walk in step with You
I will learn to dream of them, too. 

Linking up with Velvet Ashes at The Grove where the theme this week is "Yoke"

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  1. Michele, the feelings and sense of motion this poem evokes are palpable! It's like being in a living picture.

    1. Thanks, Amy! I was wondering about what an ox thinks of the yoke...and how that compares to me.

  2. You speak to me in strange syllables... Someone I heard recently said we should learn to appreciate the mystery of the Other. We are all mysteries carrying along our kingly nature under the guise of the mundane.

    1. True! I like how you put that, Zhenya - carrying along our kingly nature under the guise of the mundane. I think we so often don't even see it in others TO appreciate, let alone in ourselves. So the syllables are strange. but we are learning...

  3. Michele, WOW, again you blow me away with your Grove poetry. Your words are always so dense and rich with meaning. Thank you for this.

  4. Michele, I really like your imagery, along with the idea of learning to walk in step and having the same dreams. Thank you for sharing your poetry.

    1. I am hoping that I'm learning to walk in step and have the same dreams, Jodie. Sometimes it's so hard to see beyond the mundane to the mystery, as Zhenya put it above.

  5. Hi Michele, this is so beautiful. Your poem reminded me of something I read once about in the older days when they physically used oxes with 'yokes' the owner would carve out the yokes to fit the shoulders of the oxes who would be pulling together. Making the yoke pretty useless should one of the oxes die. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I don't think I knew that they actually carved the yokes for certain oxen - although i figured they'd have to choose the right one, one that fit. Thanks for telling me, Dorette - I really like the meaning that gives to the yoke - that not only was it chosen for us - but it was carved specifically for each individual - not even one size fits many.