Saturday Poem


Cutting in the cane fields

or hacking back scrub,
it was something we were used to:
after all, we were farmers.

We’d gather every morning
before setting out,
then cutting all day
in the jungle and marshes.

We’d come back exhausted,
well worthy of beer
and brochettes. Our wives
turned their backs in bed.

In those days was beef
and ribsteak in plenty.
We bore the knives ourselves:
slaughtering, jointing.

We feasted like the elegant kings
to whom were given
such bloody instructions
they jumped to the life to come.

by Steve Ely
from The Poetry Review, 104:1, Spring, 2014