Crush

grapeharvest3

Racing tendrils, endless rows
Stanchion to stanchion, goes
Endless working, all the year,
At fall the harvest, tractor’s gear.
The fragrant sweets before the snows.

The harvest hauled, the workers out,
Evident presence strewn about,
A lunch pale at the rows end,
Marks the long path of workers sent,
Along the lines I hear them shout.

They cut and tie and mend and prune,
To mark the falling stanchions soon,
Down brown leaf lanes, these workers haul,
Against Erie’s wind, that drives the fall,
As days grow short, from moon to moon.

A tremor starts, against the ground,
Before the freezing comes the pound,
The slumping stanchions now reset,
Piles replaced by drivers set,
The days of hard work’s sound.

Comes the snows, good year or bad
In winter gear the farmers clad
Go out the rows and check and walk
Up and down, in view of hawk,
To prune and mend and watch and pat.

When snow gives way to mud and green
Then grow the dandelions in between,
Begin to form, each axil fresh,
The men return, the weeds to thresh,
And once again the tractor’s seen.

Through spring and summer, checked
And checked, each vine for worker to inspect,
They walk an endless marathon,
Row to row, they start with dawn,
The farmers understand and respect.

In time the vines come into fruit,
Work does not stop, wire to root,
The sprayer comes, the fruits to spare,
It coats the vines and chokes the air
But more rows walked, boot after boot.

Harvest time again returns,
A year has gone in daylight burned,
The grapes come in, and so it goes
Juice flows out, the wine mellows,
Their monies earned.

Grapes are soft, but grapes are hard,
The work continues field to yard,
They come and go, the grapes, the men
Down the road one field or ten,
These many more vines to guard.

Here under these migrants care,
And farmers in conditions rare,
Brown and white against purple and green,
Each man against the field is seen,
This vineyard that they share.

 Nichole M. Dulin

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