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A Poem by Tom Sheehan: "Star Roots, Field Work"


Star Roots, Field Work

Deep in the August field, I loll with mice and deer and the jawboned lightning playing wild war games all across a sky’s blue air. One jagged tear of it ripped through the stoic barn from stem to stern, lighting haymow, empty stalls, untold years of leather collectibles on the hoofed-out floor.

No rain yet, though it’s aromatic on the wind raking the trees and exhorting whistles sharp and clear as commands out of electric wires. Why I sit here, plunked on my knees, with the barn beating up the balance of the marble world, is cosmic glory like white phosphorous exploding stars in a new-coming galaxy, is but the primal matter of selection, my opting for an evening of different light. Isn’t what’s left of a day, even the worst you can measure, as good as tender, coin in the hand, something for safe-keeping in our boot or belt? Isn’t it a pot of gold, unspent, glowing with promise, with one awesome purchase left? Isn’t its frank position, despite connivance or loss metered across daylight hours, like a presence known?

The clock spins, I move with it even as the grass grows under me, the ants mine the earth below in their silent economies, and moving meridians pass my eye in the mind’s planetarium. Time is merely circular and I catch myself and it coming together by degrees and by handful, by handful, old faces left for my finding at oddest hours.

Later on when I am housed, the roof a miniature sky and lightning sleeping like ducks on the vast pond of blue air, I’ll stand by the mow door asking the wind to come in, field to shake free my insomnias, hedge rows and stone walls to give up the last stand the mind makes, unless an old comrade’s face takes over.

Nothing more than this can prepare me for morning, the cycle of time, the circle of places, and the deep roots stars have in midnight fields, in the caverns of high barns.

Tom Sheehan dj dad

Sheehan served in the 31st Infantry in Korea 1951-52, graduated Boston College 1956, published 30 books, multiple works in Rosebud, Literally Stories, Linnet’s Wings, Serving House Journal, Copperfield Review, Literary Orphans, Eastlit, Indiana Voice Journal, Frontier Tales, DM du Jour, Literary Yard, Rope & Wire Western Magazine, Green Silk Journal. He has received 32 Pushcart nominations, 5 Best of Net nominations, and other awards.

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