Goldfinches, by the way, are totally why I plant sunflowers.
Well, and I love sunflowers.
Which reminds me that last night, while working on a different poem, I found a poem I wrote last year and had apparently forgotten all about. So I thought I'd share it here.
Yankee farmer with your half-acre in flowers
and your forty acres in hay;
your dust-bathing hens hunkered
in the shade of the coop--rust, white, periwinkle
(the color of a civil twilight);
your pigs in their wallow, fatting on spoiled tomatoes;
I know you.
I know your feed cap and your farmer's tan and your coveralls.
I know the dust and chaff on your boots.
I know your shaggy ridiculous long-horned Scottish cows,
the chafe of frozen knuckles in the spring night cold
as you labor with her, turning the calf so she can be born.
I know the work of harvesting onions,
the ache of back and hamstrings,
the long windrows laid to cure in the sun.
I know the cosmos and lupins,
the daylilies, butterfly bush, Shasta daisies,
snapdragons, sunflowers--the sunflowers! Crimson, lemon,
orange, streaky and clear, golden petals dipped in rust,
and each with a brown-black velvet eye--
I know the way the heavy sunflower dips and sways
under the impulsive weight of the goldfinch.
I know your turkeys gleaning in the fields.
I know your farm shares and your farm stands and your farmer's markets.
I know your green apples fallen beside the road.
I know the rocks in your field, new-turned every spring,
and the life of a limpet or a lichen clinging to the scraped dome of glacial stone.
There's forty acres in hay and thirty-nine in vegetables.
There's a spotted boar awkwardly straddling a jaded sow.
The half-acre in its untended riot lies by the road.
The neighbors think your farm pretty.
A white tree with a weeping habit
trembles but stands in the long wind,
It's not my best ever, but maybe I will fix it someday.