Tares in the Wheat

“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God,” Luke 9:62

“The sun will burn; the heat will cause you sweat; Dust will choke before the sun is set,” Michael Curtis, -“Novice”-

When I recall various seeds I’ve sown
I’m prone to clench my teeth and tug my hair.
I look back on the lea and it looks bare.
My bag of seed was by the devil blown
chock-full of tares, not wheat, misleading plants:
Green at first but browning on the easel.
I’m upset; but relieved that it’s legal
to change my name, or move, or to supplant,
to start afresh and bury the old crap,
is comforting. I keep my eyes ahead,
on the offing, tighten the safety strap,
and press on plowing till I’m spent and dead.
The juvenile weeds were a mishap.
From now on (try!) I’ll make Prudence my friend.


The Dawn Sleep

For Aurora

My anxious soul has bothered me all night.
I lie awake without Sleep’s soothing balm
which relieves stress; I toss and turn; I light
a candle by which I can live a psalm.
My hypos* get the best of me, I fear
a death alone in a black static night;
and even when I start to nod I tear
my eyes back open lest I should alight
in that black void. I spend a night like this
when like a mother creeping up the stairs
slowly and softly, catching unawares
my nervous spirit dwelling on black Dis*,
she lightens the sky, tames my morbid mares,
and with her lilac lips my eyelids kiss.


A Recurring Dream, Vanquished

I had a nightmare when I was a boy
with animals at first docile and sweet,
with tie-dyed leaves which were like cruel decoys
distracting me from what I was to meet…
A bright, autumnal tunnel would transform
to craggy scene of blacks and shark-gray blues,
one blasted tree-trunk and a thunder storm,
a Sea of Death and all its darkening hues!

I amble down another sylvan path
and all about me the umbrageous trees
display colors that make me want to laugh;
or say a thankful prayer upon my knees.
For now, when I have reached this Cliff of mine,
the Terror’s altered: I see the Sublime.


Reid McGrath is a poet living in the Hudson Valley of New York.

Featured Image: “The Voyage of Life: Manhood,” by Thomas Cole.


*Hypos: short for hypochondria; allusion to the first page of Moby Dick

*Dis: the abode of the dead, the underworld

Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.”

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.