The Farm Terraces

Beautiful merciless work

around the slopes of Earth

terraces cut by curt hoe
at the orders of hunger
or a pointing lord.
Levels eyed up to rhyme
copied from grazing animals

round the steeps of Earth,
balconies filtering water down
stage to stage of drop.
Wind-stirred colours of crop
swell between walked bunds
that recall the beast tracks,
harvests down from the top

by hands long in the earth.
Baskets of rich made soil

boosted up poor by the poor,

ladder by freestone prop
stanzas of chant-long lines

by backwrenching slog,

money, gave food and drunk

but rip now like slatted sails
(some always did damn do)
down the abrupts of earth.

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