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Harvest Song

Written by: Jean Toomer | Biography
 | Quotes (1) |
 I am a reaper whose muscles set at sundown.
All my oats are cradled.
But I am too chilled, and too fatigued to bind them.
And I hunger.
I crack a grain between my teeth.
I do not taste it.
I have been in the fields all day.
My throat is dry.
I hunger.
My eyes are caked with dust of oatfields at harvest-time.
I am a blind man who stares across the hills, seeking stack'd fields of other harvesters.
It would be good to see them .
.
crook'd, split, and iron-ring'd handles of the scythes.
It would be good to see them, dust-caked and blind.
I hunger.
(Dusk is a strange fear'd sheath their blades are dull'd in.
) My throat is dry.
And should I call, a cracked grain like the oats.
.
.
eoho-- I fear to call.
What should they hear me, and offer me their grain, oats, or wheat, or corn? I have been in the fields all day.
I fear I could not taste it.
I fear knowledge of my hunger.
My ears are caked with dust of oatfields at harvest-time.
I am a deaf man who strains to hear the calls of other harvesters whose throats are also dry.
It would be good to hear their songs .
.
reapers of the sweet-stalk'd cane, cutters of the corn.
.
.
even though their throats cracked and the strangeness of their voices deafened me.
I hunger.
My throat is dry.
Now that the sun has set and I am chilled, I fear to call.
(Eoho, my brothers!) I am a reaper.
(Eoho!) All my oats are cradled.
But I am too fatigued to bind them.
And I hunger.
I crack a grain.
It has no taste to it.
My throat is dry.
.
.
O my brothers, I beat my palms, still soft, against the stubble of my harvesting.
(You beat your soft palms, too.
) My pain is sweet.
Sweeter than the oats or wheat or corn.
It will not bring me knowledge of my hunger.



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