Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MOWERS, by MYRON B. BENTON

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE MOWERS, by                    
First Line: The sunburnt mowers are in the swath
Last Line: Swing, swing, swing!
Subject(s): Harvest; Mowing & Mowers; Lawn Mowers

THE sunburnt mowers are in the swath --
Swing, swing, swing!
The towering lilies loath
Tremble and totter and fall;
The meadow-rue
Dashes its tassels of golden dew;
And the keen blade sweeps o'er all --
Swing, swing, swing!
The flowers, the berries, the feathered grass,
Are thrown in a smothered mass;
Hastens away the butterfly;
With half their burden the brown bees hie;
And the meadow-lark shrieks distrest,
And leaves the poor younglings all in the nest.
The daisies clasp and fall;
And totters the Jacob's-ladder tall.
Weaving and winding and curving lithe,
O'er plumy hillocks -- through dewy hollows,
His subtle scythe
The nodding mower follows --
Swing, swing, swing!
Anon, the chiming whetstones ring --
Ting-a-ling! ting-a-ling!
And the mower now
Pauses and wipes his beaded brow.
A moment he scans the fleckless sky;
A moment, the fish-hawk soaring high;
And watches the swallows dip and dive
Anear and far.
They whisk and glimmer, and chatter and
What do they gossip together?
Cunning fellows they are,
Wise prophets to him!
"Higher or lower they circle and skim --
Fair or foul to-morrow's hay-weather!"
Tallest primroses, or loftiest daisies,
Not a steel-blue feather
Of slim wing grazes:
"Fear not! fear not!" cry the swallows.
Each mower tightens his snath-ring's wedge,
And his finger daintily follows
The long blade's tickle-edge;
Softly the whetstone's last touches ring --
Ting-a-ling! ting-a-ling!
Like a leaf-muffled bird in the woodland nigh,
Faintly the fading echoes reply --
Ting-a-ling! ting-a-ling!
"Perchance the swallows, that flit in their glee,
Of to-morrow's hay-weather know little as we!"
Says Farmer Russet. "Be it hidden in shower
Or sunshine, to-morrow we do not own --
To-day is ours alone! --
Not a twinkle we'll waste of the golden hour.
Grasp tightly the nibs -- give heel and give
toe! --
Lay a goodly swath, shaved smooth and low!
Prime is the day --
Swing, swing, swing!"
Farmer Russet is aged and gray --
Gray as the frost, but fresh as the spring,
Straight is he
As the green fir-tree;
And with heart most blithe, and sinews lithe,
He leads the row with his merry scythe.
"Come, boys! strike up the old song
While we circle around --
The song we always in haytime sing --
And let the woods ring,
And the echoes prolong
The merry sound!"
July is just in the nick of time!
(Hay-weather, hay-weather;)
The midsummer month is the golden prime
For haycocks smelling of clover and thyme; --
(Swing all together!)
July is just in the nick of time!
O, we'll make our hay while the good sun
shines --
We'll waste not a golden minute!
No shadow of storm the blue arch lines;
We'll waste not a minute -- not a minute!
For the west-wind is fair;
O, the hay-day is rare! --
The sky is without a brown cloud in it!
June is too early for richest hay;
(Fair weather, fair weather;)
The corn stretches taller the livelong day;
But grass is ever too sappy to lay; --
(Clip all together!)
June is too early for richest hay.
August's a month that too far goes by;
(Late weather, late weather;)
Grasshoppers are chipper and kick too high!
And grass that's standing is fodder scorched dry; --
(Pull all together!)
August's a month that too far goes by.
July is just in the nick of time!
(Best weather, best weather;)
The midsummer month is the golden prime
For haycocks smelling of clover and thyme;
(Strike all together!)
July is just in the nick of time!
Still hiss the scythes!
Shudder the grasses' defenceless blades --
The lily-throng writhes;
And, as a phalanx of wild geese streams,
Where the shore of April's cloudland gleams,
On their dizzy way, in serried grades --
Wing on wing, wing on wing --
The mowers, each a step in advance
Of his fellow, time their stroke with a glance
Of swerveless force;
And far through the meadow leads their course --
Swing, swing, swing!

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