childhood memory of the farm

Poetry , Art & Video by Norman J. Olson

I remember how the fields

of oats would

roll in waves

on a windy day,

like waves on the ocean that I had never seen…  how

the sun was hot on dust

packed by the alternating vee of

tread marks from the huge

driving wheels of the tractor…  the smoothness

of the packed dirt like

some ultra-silk spun from

loam and

cosmic fire…


I remember black and red chickens scratching in the gravel


I remember the hay barn

with space between the vertical boards

where rows of sunlight

brought motes

of dust into visibility, slicingValium

through the

gloom…  old hay soft underfoot

and rough hewn

beams notched and assembled

up to the roof

unimaginably distant

to my young



See more at

Licking Time


what you need


the last horse and the tractor


the old John Deere tractor

was bought just after the war…  I can

barely remember the last of the horses,

huge and stomping around,

led by harness reins…

these were not race horses or

riding horses, delicate as the frost, but

workhorses with hooves the size of

dinner plates…  and shaggy coats…

I can see my dad

with the horse hoof held between

his legs, nails in his mouth,

nailing horseshoes

to the hooves of

a big slow black workhorse…


the last horse was named Black Beauty and I remember his death


the horse was ill and was standing,

leaning against the chicken coop…

I could hear the cracking

and groaning of the wood…

it was blue black night and

the enormous old horse


screaming in a harrowing whinny,

almost like a person…  the

adults were afraid he was

going to knock the

chicken coop over…  I remember

my dad at the old wooden

phone that hung on the kitchen wall, cranking

up the phone, holdingWazoo

the ear piece…


cousin Erik

to come with his rifle

and I remember the

crack of the shot…  then

the last of the horses

was gone…  gone like childhood

or like yesterday morning, gone

like the sound

of an old John Deere tractor


over the hills of my memory, gone

like a rifle shot

in the blue black night…

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In the Business

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