First Farmers

            and everything / Was toil, relentless toil, urged on by need.

                        —Virgil

 

It took centuries to domesticate the wild
goat, grow almonds and olives from seed,
harvest barley with stone sickles.

So crops, livestock, and flint tools
could ripple across the Fertile Crescent.
The ox was groaning and bent to the plow.

Cows to own, fences to mend.
Conundrum of walls, things and more
things and the places to put them

so we could settle down and count
on the next meal. Planning, planting,
placating the household gods,

each claiming a share. And vetch,
thistles, weevils to worry the fields.
Drought. Mold. Back-breaking,

that labor, row after tedious row
to sow. From those first seeds,
more food, then more mouths to feed.

And no going back.
Into Future we were
hurtling, spinning and spun.

 

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