What else is left?

Dad stretched the wire, full of double twisted barbs
Along the newly dried section line, where drain tiles run so deep.
Cud chewing cattle eyeing the sweet uncut clover
Guarded by the fence line, too high for cattle to leap.

Above the geese keep flying, historic wetlands gone.
Potholes once patrolled by rows of twisting sentries; Ash, Elm, and Oak,
No longer guarding fragile prairie life, no longer providing forest cover
Cut down, bulldozed, and covered by a brittle honeysuckle cloak.

Land once turned by a single bottom steel edged plow,
Farmer guided oxen powered cutting knives, that changed a prairie stage.
Working from sun-up to down, unknowingly ensuring the family’s doom.
Extracting a generation’s promise, for less than a living wage.

160 acres homesteads, bought by five years toil.
Advertised as paradise, with fertile land to secure.
Desperate Swedes and Germans, Russians and Norwegians too
Most ended up with nothing, except crumpled railroad brochures.

-Clarence Holm

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