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I Long To Be a Tractor
Paula Schulz


wheels right for work and taking me down long
furrows, straight and true. I want to belong

to the working world, have purpose, be needed.
At times I feel I have somehow seceded

from the nation of labor and worth. I seem
remedial, menial, or just mean.

Even to myself. But I know

I could steel myself to weather, push through
pain. I could take the roughest path, harrow

broad swaths hopeful as the road leading home.
I’ve always pulled my share of the load,

never been afraid of a little dirt,
mud, manure. Never been too hurt

to finish what I started. I know I could

do it all again, go on and on
‘til day’s end poured quick rivers of molten

color down each row. Once I was an ingot;
could shape myself to any work. What

I want now is just a job, an income so my wife
and kids can eat, so we can keep our lives

together. I long to be a tractor.

 © by Paula Schulz.
Used with the author’s permission.

Paula Schulz has taught students in kindergarten, college, and a few grades in between. Involved with the Poetry People in Waukesha and, for the last two years, the Pewaukee Area Arts Council's ekphrastic project, Paula lives with her husband in Slinger, Wisconsin.


Post New Comment:
Male or female...does it really matter? Such original work and wonderful imagery - purposeful and strong; skillfully done. Thank you, Paula ~. Judy
Posted 09/03/2012 03:49 PM
Janet Leahy:
A poem that helps us realize what work gives us, a place to belong, to have purpose, be needed. Timely piece, well written and to the point. Thanks Paula.
Posted 09/03/2012 02:54 PM
Such interesting imagery. But the tractor is inanimate. I am not.
Posted 09/03/2012 01:37 PM
Good poem for Labor Day! But, I too wish you had not made the voice male. It works just as well female--or not specifying: "so my family can eat".
Posted 09/03/2012 11:58 AM
Larry Schug:
an ode to persistence! This poem says a lot with a little. Nice work.
Posted 09/03/2012 09:56 AM
Another pearl. Thanks Paula
Posted 09/03/2012 09:17 AM
I started this poem assuming and delighted that a woman poet had dreams of machine-like power, but was disappointed to find that the author was writing in the persona of a male.
Posted 09/03/2012 08:08 AM
Gary Busha:
Good idea, structure, and internal rhyme, at least for me. I like the human to machine projection.
Posted 09/03/2012 05:54 AM

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