The Book of the Rose

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

THE FIRST PLOUGHING


 

Calls the crow from the pine-tree top
When the April air is still.
He calls to the farmer hitching his team
In the farmyard under the hill.
"Come up," he cries, "come out and come up,
5

For the high field's ripe to till.
Don't wait for word from the dandelion
Or leave from the daffodil."

Cheeps the flycatcher—"Here old earth
Warms up in the April sun;

10
And the first ephemera, wings yet wet,
From the mould creep one by one.
Under the fence where the flies frequent
Is the earliest gossamer spun.
Come up from the damp of the valley lands,
15

For here the winter's done.

"Whistles the high-hold out of the grove
His summoning loud and clear:
"Chilly it may be down your way
But the high south field has cheer.

20

On the sunward side of the chestnut stump
The woodgrubs wake and appear.
Come out to your ploughing, come up to your ploughing,
The time for ploughing is here."


Then dips the coulter and drives the share,

25
And the furrows faintly steam.
The crow drifts furtively down from the pine
To follow the clanking team.
The flycatcher tumbles, the high-hole darts
In the young noon's yellow gleam;
30
And wholesome sweet the smell of the sod
Upturned from its winter's dream.