poetry and prose about place

under the haystack

with 4 comments

In our area, late summer is haymaking time.  During the past two weeks, almost every field has been at some stage of mowing, bailing, or gathering.  Farmers tried to bring their hay in before the August 28 tropical storm (Hurricane Irene), so most fields are now cut and cleared. 

Haymaking is a picturesque activity.  The cut hay is formed into parallel windrows in the fields, an artist’s lesson in perspective.  The cutting and bailing and drying of hay are all fascinating to watch. 

In the 1960s, at my grandfather’s farm, hay was gathered loose into a horse-drawn hay wagon and stored unbailed in the barn.  One summer, I was thrilled to be asked to help ‘tramp hay’.   As the fluffy hay was forked into the wagon, our work was to compress it by rolling and stomping and jumping.   

Haying methods have changed, of course.  Collecting loose hay is almost non-existent.  Even the smaller square bails are hard to find.  The most common are the cylindrical ‘round’ bails or the white plastic-wrapped silage bails. 

The round bails look like plump shredded wheat…

and the silage bails are giant marshmallows. 

At sunset, the shadows of the round bails make musical half notes on the fields.        

'half notes'



Summer Song


Sunbury County

sings in its sleep

            purple vetch

            hop clover


at the roadside


hay in rows 

            a staff

            empty of song


round bails and their shadows

half notes for an oboe


honey bee

ditty in the pink and red-hipped

            old fashioned roses

            bid country roads

   enter the covered bridge

glimpses between planking

rock music on the water

tires drum on loose boards


deer look up

cattle low in the meadow

            owl to whitethroat  


            goldenrod pollens the air

rushes by the Rusagonis River

north and south


over Sunpoke

big moon crescendo

trembles of aspen



Published as: Spring 1995, “Summer Song”, The Cormorant XI (2)


© Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

September 2, 2011 at 6:56 am

4 Responses

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  1. I’m looking through your blog when I’m tired & really should be going to bed, but it’s been keeping me interested for a while now, so I thought I’d just let you know! I like the imagery in your poetry. This drawing seems somehow to have a similar style & atmosphere despite being a different medium, in that it also conjours up a certain essence. There’s a sense of peacefulness with the long shadows of evening light. Glad to have found your site.


    Sonya Chasey

    September 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    • Welcome Sonya. Thank you for your comment. It is interesting that you think my drawings and poetry are kin to one another… I hadn’t thought about that before, but it fits a theory of mine that if you write or paint or draw, you are tapping into the same creative process. I’ll visit your site too! Jane


      jane tims

      September 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm

  2. Excellent imagery Jane. Your drawing is also well done …worthy of a highly positive comment from Heather. And what can I say about the poem? round bails and their shadows

    half notes for an oboe

    Very cleverly thought up
    . ~Denis



    September 3, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    • Hi Denis. Thanks for the positive comment on the drawing. I used to draw a lot. Jane


      jane tims

      September 4, 2011 at 7:53 am

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