They ploughed this land in March. Back then, it lay
Dark, heavy, full of winter rain, and turned
In thick, slow-breaking waves. Spring baked the clay
To bricks and horse-heads when the sun returned.
They worked it down somehow and, fingers crossed,
Drilled wheat and waited. May breathed savage heat
On helpless shoots. By month’s end, all was lost,
Each lifeless leaf a limp flag of defeat.
And so they let it go. The big John Deere
Came armed with power harrow to the field.
They reaped an early, empty harvest here:
Brown dust and diesel fumes the only yield.
To start, to break new ground, takes guts and will.
But knowing when to quit is harder still.