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The Harvest
by Gail Hamilton

We shared the changing seasons
   Standing close and far apart
   my father and myself.

Our early bonding to the land
   And later factory life
   Seemed a logical transition

From growing to refining.

Early on
   The rubber boots and shovel
   Standing guard by back screen door
   Till water turn at midnight
   When head gates opened wide
   And water raced or trickled
   Down fields of furtive furrows.

   Steele toed boots beside the bed
   Sugar stained and beet pulp pungent.
   Campaign and harvest, eight hour shifts
    Metal lunch box and hard hat gear

   Home from college at Christmastime
   Nocturnal visits to Dad's domain
     The Sugar Boiler Room
From outdoor frozen breath to inside steamy warmth
Up open cat walks, deafening noise,
Rumbling machinery, metal stairs and
Everywhere that permeating acrid smell of
Sugar in progress

The factory doors are closed
  farm has long been sold
Yet still my father tills the soil
When springtime warms the earth
And still he harvests and still he shares
And growth has been the harvest
  And work produced the growth
   And love provided reason

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