Goat house

In reaching for the scythe
I’m reminded of the whetstone
and the few quick strokes
by which it was tested–
the hardness of hot August;
the burning of ticks
off dog backs.

It’s winter now
in this garage made barn,
and the animals seem only curious
that I’d be here so late
on a cold night lit dimly
by a single hanging bulb.

They don’t bother to stir
and disturb their warm huddle.
Cudchewers, we pay each other
little attention.

The curve of the handle still fits.
The blade shines,
its edge oiled against rust.
The loft is full
of Jack Mattison’s field.

There’s nothing to do —
my content is preparedness,
the simplicity of knowing.


Williams Rd. Farm


I wrote that poem when I was in a “farming” stage of life, and I soon realized that being a farmer was not a big deal–it was a whole bunch of “little deals.” If I took care of the little things, my life was infinitely more simple and more rewarding.

This basic metaphor can be extended into almost any realm of life. I can’t even count the number of times I took something apart, put it back together–and then noticed one or two bolts, screws, nuts or washers lying around. Sometimes whatever it was that I took apart still worked; other times, it was a long and frustrating process trying to figure out where I screwed up (pardon the play on words). 

In a similar way, you guys are finishing up your videos and/or preparing writing pieces for the exam. Just like me with a busted lawnmower, you are putting stuff together, and it is remarkably easy to forget the little things–things that may or may not “break” your project.

Perhaps you made an amazing video on an iPad at school, but you never figured out how to upload it to a blog. 

Maybe you made an awesome podcast, but you don’t know how to share it to iTunes or to Soundcloud or import it onto iMovie.

Maybe you assumed you could use your sister’s laptop this weekend to finish your movie, but she is off to visit a friend in Montana.

Maybe you thought you knew one of the rubrics by heart…


Lordy, there are so many stones in the road of life, and there always will be. The only thing you can do is to anticipate what can go wrong with the same certainty that things will just work out for the best. This is in no way pessimism; it is a pragmatism that will serve you well: pay attention to the little things for it is the little things that hold together the bigger structure of life.

Have you taken care of the little things, or are you one of those sad few who will be making excuses, looking pained and angry, and one screw shy of being able to turn in your work on time?

My dream and hope is that when you come to the exam, you will be like me in my poem:

There’s nothing to do —

my content is preparedness,

the simplicity of knowing.

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