Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hay Hauling

When Barb and I came to Texas after college to make our fortunes, we came as school teachers. Texas paid beginning teachers $5200 a year. That meant that in order to make ends meet, teachers had to find other work in the summer. After my first year, my brother-in-law bought two old hay trucks and I joined him in this money making venture. It was Central Texas in the summer time, the bales were square and heavy, the trucks were old and hardly reliable, and the work was grueling. I hope this poem I later wrote captures the scene for you.

Hauling Hay

I was a teacher
my salary was meager
I spent the summers
hauling hay.

The Texas sun
was searing at dawn
when I rose to see
if my hay truck
would start.

I climbed in the cab.
looked at the ground.
The truck had no floorboard
just blue smoke and sound.

The hay fields were strewn.
Square bales of alfalfa.
Heavy to lift,
tough to inhale.

We stacked them high
on the flatbed behind us.
One hundred and twenty
at twelve cents a bale.

We made for the barn.
A loft with no air flow.
Sweating and stacking
and swatting the wasps.

The scene was repeated
as long as the sun shone.
Then we, and the truck
coughed our way home.