Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Prayer for the Fruits of the Field

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Prayer for the Fruits of the Field

Article excerpt

Show your leniency to the lovely fruits of the field.

Purify the air, send your soft rain and kindly weather

so that the crops may thrive. Keep from them

the poisonous blight, so that we, and our animals,

may eat. Curse the rat fouling the corn, the canker

that curls leaves, burn away the beetles that stripped

the cherry, leaving a bouquet of twigs. Douse the mites

that choke the tracheae of the bees, the raccoon

with his taste for eggs, the fly-bitten buck

stripping the apple trees, the voles that stole the row

of beets stored under straw and ice.

Keep away the fevers and pests, poisons,

the ghost whose face of smoke yawns

from the cement factory stack,

Blow away the filth of men drifting through the valley

that threatens to embitter the berries, taint the wine

and spoil the grain, the humid winds

with its cargo of blighting spores. Through our own avarice

and bad luck, we eat misfortune dusted

over meals served up on white china plates. …

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