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Forty arces and a mule

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  • Forty arces and a mule

    You can step it off with heel and toe

    In crooked line has the creek may go

    Jack-wax, blue-clay, some sandy-loam

    This forty acres now your home


    Forty acres and a mule

    To serve the malcontent

    Forty acres and a mule

    One wonders where it when


    On instincts call you did rely

    No government now by your side

    What should have been, now denied

    Forty acres in disguise


    Of what you earned, a little piece

    Of gods green earth for your release

    Promises without a trace

    Forty acres now misplaced


    Dignity where does it hide

    Beneath the foot of passion’s pride

    Robbers baron, you the fool

    They didn’t even leave the mule


    Forty acres and a mule

    To serve the malcontent

    Forty acres and a mule

    One wonders where it when


    The story behind the poem.

    In the small, small town of Casella Ohio, on the southern edge of what was once the great black swamp. I stopped to talk to a brother of the catholic seminary, who was mowing the graveyard.

    An old rod iron fence separated the cemetery. On one side the tiny grave markers looked ancient, barley disenable. I recognized none of the names, not the usual ones of the German immigrants I was used to seeing. They were all on the other side of the fence.

    Bother Jude told me they were those of former slaves, granted land for their service in the civil war. The last of a handful of farmers, wiped out by a cholera epidemic. The rest had been forced off after the invention of the field tile had turn once useless land into the most fertile ground in Ohio.

  • #2
    What is, or was, the field tile?
    All history is full of dispossession.
    Who gets to build, now wineries
    are burnt out of Napa Valley,
    spreading Silicon Heaven?
    I notice a few typos,
    including the title.
    Last edited by Johntee; 10-12-2017, 06:27 AM.

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    • #3
      Field tile; first made of clay, placed in furrows ten to twenty feet apart, 14 up to 18 inch deep. Used to drain low laying land. Typos that's my M. O.
      Jack wax and blue clay are types of soil.
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

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      • #4
        Hello divot, I love the folksy tone in this one and your language is just as it should be, earthy and sound. I have enjoyed this one very much. Well done indeed, Tony.

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        • #5
          The title caught me, and the poetic brilliance of thus truth, reeled me in.

          The unfulfilled promise of 40 Acres and A Mule, familiar to many African-Americans.

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