COMMON GROUND

by: Marcy Rosenbaum

"Common ground tries to capture some of the recurring stories we heard  as we traveled around the state talking to folks of many ilks about farm life.  I was struck by the contrast between children who couldn’t wait to leave the farm, those who stayed, others who wanted to farm and struggled to get land access.  I picture them passing each other on a dusty gravel road, those running from the same things others are moving towards – giving the Iowa wave or tip of the hat to each other."

~ Marcy Rosenbaum


Billy was born, a child of the corn, on a century farm
It was clear that his life, from sun up to moonrise,
would be spent working out in the fields and the barn

Being third generation, he missed graduation
and most of his childhood before
So came the surprise is his father’s eyes
when one day he walked straight out the door

He was leaving: 
the toil of springtime
the thickness of summer, 
the long, heavy harvest
and deep winter silence
and starting all over again

The more attached you are, the more there is to lose
If I’m gonna take a chance, at least I want to choose
which ground, which land
which town, which plan

Selma was raised in a thick urban haze on a crowded avenue
Whiles others dreamt of material things,
her sleep was filled with dirt and green,

She had calling, it was almost like falling,
to till, and to plant, and to grow
She was dream rich but land poor so what she wished for
was to find a place that could feel like her own

She was seeking:
the toil of springtime
the thickness of summer, 
the long heavy harvest
the deep winter silence
and starting all over again

The more attached you are, the more there is to lose
If I’m gonna take a chance, at least I want to choose
which ground, which land
which town, which plan

Not the prodigal son but the unintended daughter
now works side by side with Billy’s own father
And the skeptical man might understand, 
you don’t have to be blood to belong  on the land.

From the cycle of seasons, many children are leaving,
to seek out their fortunes far, far away
But there’s weathered young faces, that can take their places,
you don’t to have to be blood to belong to the land 

They are craving:
the toil of springtime
the thickness of summer, 
the long heavy harvest
the deep winter silence
and starting all over again

The more attached you are, the more there is to lose
If I’m gonna take a chance, at least I want to choose
which ground, which land
which town, which plan

the toil of springtime
the thickness of summer, 
the long heavy harvest
the deep winter silence

All material Copyright 2006-2017 Awful Purdies
"2 Headed Woman" logo designed by Mara Cole

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