Thursday, August 18, 2011

Crisp as Apples

Born in Concord, Massachusetts, Charles W. Pratt attended Phillips Exeter Academy for his high school years, and then returned there to teach in the 1960s. In the early 1980s he and his wife Joan bought an apple orchard in Brentwood, New Hampshire which they have operated ever since. His poetry has appeared in The American Scholar, Poetry, Commonweal and The Atlantic Monthly. “Prayer For the Small Engine Repair Man” is included in From the Box Marked Some Are Missing: New and Selected Poems (2010), Pratt’s latest collection of poetry. Like the first bite of a freshly picked apple, there is something deliciously crisp about Pratt’s writing.


Our Sundays are given voice
By the small engine repairman,
Whose fingers, stubby and black,
Know our mowers and tractors,
Chainsaws, rototillers,
Each plug, gasket and valve
And all the vital fluids.
Thanks to him our lawns
Are even, our gardens vibrant,
Our maples pruned for swings,
The underbrush whacked away.
“What's broke can always be fixed
If I can find the parts,”
He says as he loosens a nut,
Exposes the carburetor,
Tinkers and tunes until
To the slightest pull on the cord
The engine at once concurs.
Let him come into our homes,
Let him discipline our children,
Console and counsel our mates,
Adjust the gap of our passions,
The mix of our humors: lay hands
On the small engine of our days.

1 comment:

  1. Love the poem. Although running an apple orchard as a business is no doubt very hard work, there is something so appealing about working the land and then composing singing words about it. In theory a satisfying life.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America