FARMER'S DAUGHTER - Digby Augustus Stewart Mackworth Dolben Poems


Poems » digby (mackworth) dolben » farmer s daughter


I spent the longest time
trying to find you,
the vague woman in a house
roaring with a man's need.

I searched old photographs --
in your anxious hands,
that nub of womb-fresh life
is me, your face still
farm-fresh, warm as an egg.

The smallest thirteenth child
lost at the back of a family
hating cows.

I remember your mother's house,
the root cellar yawning.
When you ran home that time
she spoke of made beds
and sent you packing.

Life was the threat
you learned from brothers,
hands as big as shovels.
You looked for the strong man
who came from the sky
in a World War II movie
to fold his body over you
like a cape.

It took me years to see
the still-born thing
you had buried.

It surfaced once.

On my marriage night
you broke your code and cried:
"Don't leave me."

I hid those words for years
knowing we too dug hands like shovels
into your life.