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The Fall of Biscoe

Caleb Smith Avatar  Send Soup Mail  Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled The Fall of Biscoe which was written by poet Caleb Smith. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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The Fall of Biscoe

Biscoe in the fall, in the cotton harvest, was unforgettable. Too much seems to have changed in too little time. I remember those summers before the fields became white sheets. When I was a boy, my father would sharpen my hoe and send me to them. Many afternoons were spent walking row after row of cotton, chopping down the weeds by hand, under a blistering Arkansas sun. It's hard to remember all the things I thought about out there alone in that white sea. Mostly, I remember thinking about how I'd rather be fishing down on Slippery Lake Bridge.

out choppin' cotton
dreaming of crappie and bream
caught in the sun's wrath

But summer was always over too soon, and I would miss that rich and musty smell. The change from summer to fall was also the change from choppin' cotton, to stompin' cotton. The farmers would drag their rusty cotton wagons to the fields with a load of kids. We waited impatiently for the first piles from the picker to be dumped over the side. Then we played football in the world's softest and smallest arena. We wrestled, we fought, and sometimes we just laid in our white bed of fluff.

out stompin' cotton
playful chores long out-dated
white falls forgotten

The monster hydraulic presses came to town somewhere in those blissful years to squash, not the budding cotton, but our budding hopes. They took away our work. They took away our fun. We no longer rode the rusty wagons from the gin. We watched in jealous anger while the press made a mockery of our free time. The crop dusters came soon after, and my hoe, with its' finely tuned edge, became dull ... while the keen edge of nostalgia grew ever sharper. Sometimes I find myself out on Slippery Lake Bridge ... thinking about choppin' cotton.

choppin' and stompin'
rusty wagons left behind
children in the rows


*this is my first attempt at a haibun, so all you good folks who can give advice ... feel free to be honest, as I don't really know what I'm doing ... and a question ... have any of ya'll ever stomped cotton?...haha

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  1. Date: 6/12/2013 9:04:00 PM
    Re-visiting this awesome piece - the infamous Haibun that kick started your narrative career! NINJA right back atcha! Also, thanks for your comment on my latest poem - I am now VERY curious to read the Facebook poem you mentioned. Do you still have it? If you don't want to post it on PS, you should soupmail it to me :)

  1. Date: 4/2/2013 9:21:00 PM
    I really love this! Quite a pleasure to read. Amazingly penned poem depicting a wonderful story. Well done! :)

  1. Date: 4/2/2013 6:10:00 PM
    Nope... Never stomped cotton. But I recall clearly my father's stories about picking by hand, the small cuts caused by the boles, and snapping the head off a rattlesnake hiding in the rows. I'd never have known this was your first haibun. Beautifully done... Jack

  1. Date: 4/2/2013 7:22:00 AM
    A beautiful story Caleb! the 3 line verse are not haiku but add spice. The haiku should add a visual that the prose doe not. [remember haiku is 2 parts not 3] My suggestion since the story is so good try not to use [I] so often. ex: [Biscoe in the fall, at harvest time, was unforgettable] /Dem Beautiful Bums is the verse about the 1959 world series when the Dodgers won ;)/ Hope that helps Light & Love

    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi
    Date: 4/2/2013 7:24:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    nope I never stomped cotton but I did stomp HAY, and I did tend tobacco under nets in 100 heat in aug. and then sow the leaves in the barn. I have also carried a chicken in each hand [by the feet] up a flight of stairs in a massive chicken shed..dozens and dozens of flappin chickens
  1. Date: 4/2/2013 7:08:00 AM
    WOW! I hate to say "I told you so," but... I told you so :) You are a natural at this form! Your descriptions are truly superb, and your haiku add so much depth to the overall work. I love the subtle rhyme of the second one. Awesome job!

  1. Date: 4/2/2013 3:50:00 AM
    This is so impressive and amazing my dear friend Caleb! You're really a great poet. I haven't tried this form yet because I knew it's difficult but you did it very well on your first attempt. Thank you so much for sharing. I truly enjoyed it this afternoon! Thanks a lot for stopping by and your lovely comments on my poem. Have a nice day! love and hugs, Leonora

  1. Date: 4/2/2013 1:08:00 AM
    The monster hydraulics seems to get everywhere don t they.My childhood house used to be surrounded by filelds..now building is all one see.We used to run wild in fields..I understand your nostalgia completely..Im there with you.I never stimped cotton..I wish i did that..it seems like fun.Your haibun are a masterpiece..i mean it..re the avatar pic..Is that you ? :)

  1. Date: 4/1/2013 4:29:00 PM
    Caleb...you should write a book..this is totally awesome...while I know everything about crappie and bream I have never stomped cotton but my mom grew up picking cotton in their cotton field..we..have pics of those big white cotton sacks over their shoulders...you are good!!!! Donna

  1. Date: 4/1/2013 3:31:00 PM
    oh my gosh are you sure it's your first attempt. It is marvelous, it truly is. I don't see any one doing better than this, so I can't give any critical advice, Caleb. I mean, there are other poets doing really good ones, and you are on that level!