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western Oklahoma
About Yvonne Carpenter




Lambís-Quarters and Devilís-Claws 

To Mr. Weaver Lee Myers, Phoenix, Arizona,
From Martha Jane Myers, Clinton, Oklahoma.            

November 25th 1928 

Dear Weaver, and Stella, and grandchildren,

Remember how your brother Hardin
worked for seed wheat back in Oklahoma
Territory and hauled it here to plant?
Then someone stole his team of horses
so he put his wheat crop in with oxen
but it was so late he just cast his wheat and labor away.
Now comes your man with tractor and drill
to put in my wheat.  I thought he was to sow barley
but I see it is wheat in the drill he plants.

What is the use
in planting wheat this late? 

All around here got theirs planted long ago.
If he wanted to plant wheató
why did not he sow it in time as it could get
a start ahead of sunflowers and lambís-quarter?
Now it is so late the wheat will be too small
and the weeds will take it.
Your brother Chance said it is a waste of wheat and land. 

What is the use
of paying him now for what he should have done long ago?   

And he disked under piles of weeds
that I had cut and stacked to burn.
Oh! I should like my place farmed in a workman manner!

What is the use
of good land if it isnít farmed well?

Many wanted to rent my farm for cotton
and it would have made me money
but I wanted my family to use my land. 
But there you are homesteading in Arizona
and sending some fool to plant my wheat.
Others wanted to rent my place.
They would keep weeds down
instead of raising them,
spreading seed until my place
is nothing but weeds. 

What is the use
of all my labor?

I chopped sunflowers, loaded them in the wheelbarrow,
and stacked them on the woodpile for years.
Now this man plowed under
four heaping bundles
of devilís-claws. 

Maybe they wonít grow in the wheat
but I did not want them plowed into my ground.

What is the use
of good land if it isnít farmed well?

© 2009, Yvonne Carpenter
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


  About Yvonne Carpenter:

Yvonne Carpenter is a farmer/rancher in western Oklahoma. Most of her poetry has focused on that life, but lately she has mined some of the material of her family history. Her great-grandmother homesteaded as a single woman some of the land Yvonne and her husband now own. "Lambís-Quarters and Devilís-Claws" is one of a series based on that womanís long life.

Two books of Yvonneís poetry have been published, Barbed Wire and Paper Dolls by Village Book Press and Songs of a Carnivore by Haystack Publishing. Her work has appeared in Westview, Red Dirt Anthology, Grain, Concho River Review, The Farm Journal, The Texas Wheat Producer, and Terrain, an ezine. She is an associate editor of Frostwriting, an ezine.




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