Our first spring in the house, we discovered that our lawnmower wouldn’t work. Maybe we wouldn’t have been able to use in it the Swamp anyway, considering how wet that side yard can be. By the time the mower was back, though, the Swamp had gone wild. Waist-high with growth.

That’s when our elderly neighbor, Ernie, told me he had a scythe, offered to lend it to me, showed me how to cradle it and cut, and just how sharp he’d honed it.

So off I went. He was right, there’s a trick to using it right. But it’s work, all the same. Hard work.

So it’s something I’ve now done once in my life. And, hopefully, never again.

Yes, there’s good reason weed-whackers have taken over.


 in the meantime, waiting to refurbish
the red cobwebbed mower my wife salvaged
from her first marriage. The plot grows waist-high
and matted until our elderly neighbor extracts
a scythe from his garage and demonstrates its use

after which I vow, “never again!” while admiring
its hungry edge and once commonplace muscular skill

yes, before I get a functioning lawnmower
the swamp erupts in waist-deep weeds

on its far side, elderly Ernie laughs knowingly
before lending my his scythe
and demonstrating its use

“just call me Scythemaster”
my girls are instructed
watching me rock the cradle

oh, then, do I ache deeply …

poem copyright 2015 by Jnana Hodson


2 thoughts on “THE SCYTHE

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