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Phoenix, Arizona
About William A. (Bill) Richards





Down the Fenceline

Baptizing barbs with the blood from a knuckle,
As the new wire is wound round the pole,
Metallic claps of the truck bed on buckle,
As I yank the next yards from their roll.

And the old metal posts like a sentinel line,
Sent to guard this old dual-rutted road,
Mark the sharp edge that grows choked with weeds in decline,
Where the fields of alfalfa are mowed.

My old truck slips its clutch as it plods its worn track,
The gears grind through the odd-tempo thrust,
And the brakes squeal and screech as the truck bed groans back,
Each part caked with aged layers of dust. 

At the end of the day my hands cramped, stung and red,
Are full spent and have worked their last strand,
But I’ll start again new when the sun shows its head,
Down the fenceline that binds up this land.

© 2008, William A. Richards
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Bill told us, "This poem has two inspirations. The first is my experiences driving the highways and byways of Arizona, the continual fenceline providing a rhythm for the ride and seemingly binding miles of diverse countryside together. The other is the old farm truck my grandfather used during my summer visits to Grandpa's South Dakota home. The truck had been so well used that the brake and gas pedals were worn clean off—but there seemed nothing more reliable for hauling a stack of hay bales or whatever supplies the day's work required. The musky smell of grease mixed with dust from dried alfalfa that filled the cab of that truck is still a very fond memory."



  About William A. (Bill) Richards:

Bill is an attorney in Phoenix, Arizona, where he lives with his wife, Janet, and their three terrific daughters. While time for writing poems sometimes comes at a premium, he squeezes this creative outlet into late nights and his commute to work, or scratches lines he dreams up onto scraps of paper over breakfast.






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