by Donald Hall
In October of the year
he counts potatoes dug from the brown field
counting the seed, counting
the cellar’s portion out,
and bags the rest on the cart’s floor.
He packs wool sheared in April, honey
in combs, linen, leather
tanned from deerhide,
and vinegar in a barrel
hooped by hand at the forge’s fire.
Read the rest of the poem here
Donald Hall’s “Ox Cart Man” first appeared in The New Yorker on October 3, 1977. Two years later, Hall revised and expanded it into a picture book. Barbara Cooney’s primitive folk art paintings perfectly match the tone of this tale of a self-sufficient farmer and his family. Winner of the 1980 Caldecott Award, the book portrays 19th century farm life and its close ties to the seasons. The Horn Book described it as a “pastoral symphony translated into picture book format.”
Be sure to visit Tabatha Yeatts at her lovely blog, The Opposite of Indifference for the Poetry Friday Round Up.