The Cropland

Though coins, good health, and victuals
Are mortal man’s essentials,
I pray for great fertility
Of that arable land in me,
Where crops of different names take birth:
Love, Beauty, Humour, Grief, and Mirth.
I reap them with the pen I hold,
And this, in turn, makes lines unfold—
The food on which my life depends.
But when my golden period ends
And I’m too wobbly-boned to stand
To irrigate my only land,
Will it become sterile and sere?
What will I eat then? Lord! I fear.



Shamik Banerjee is a poet from Assam, India, where he resides with his parents. His poems have been published by Sparks of Calliope, The Hypertexts, Snakeskin, Ink Sweat & Tears, Autumn Sky Daily, Ekstasis, among others. He received second place in the Southern Shakespeare Company Sonnet Contest, 2024.

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16 Responses

  1. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Shamik, this is a precious poem revealing the good heart in you. The well-chosen image of the cropland within says so much in a meaningful way.

    • Shamik Banerjee

      I’m glad you felt so, Mr. Peterson. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  2. Phil S. Rogers

    Excellent, Shamik; Whether young or old, the human race depends on farmland and growing crops. People must unite to stop crops and land from being taken out of production. More obvious to people in other parts of the world where many till there own land. Much less obvious to many in American cities who have never given it a thought.

    • Shamik Banerjee

      Absolutely, Phil. Croplands are our means of sustenance. In the same way, we poets depend on the croplands within us. Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughtful comment.

  3. Daniel Kemper


    Your poem reminds me very strongly of a speach by Bernardo in The Magnificent Seven, in which he talks about the true bravery belonging to farmers and all their toil and assumption of responsibility for kids in the face of never knowing what will come of any of their work — for weather or the world’s interventions…

    Good stuff

    • Shamik Banerjee

      Dear Daniel, although I am not aware of The Magnificent Seven, I’m glad you found a similarity between my poem and Bernardo’s speech. I agree with your words. Thank you so much!

  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    Shamik’s excellent poem uses the symbols of “crops” and “arable land” to represent a poet’s interior wellspring of creativity. Thinking of the pen as a sickle to reap a harvest of “lines” is a wonderful way to imagine poetic composition, which for a poet is a sustenance much different from the ordinary food that agriculture provides. The “cropland” here is not an actual field, but the poet’s individual personality, character, and aesthetic skill.

    • Shamik Banerjee

      This is indeed a fine and terse summary of my poem, Mr. Salemi. Thank you so much for touching on the main points and making their meanings lucid. It’s always a pleasure to read your precious comments!

  5. Norma Pain

    I really loved this short poem (sonnet?), with its very precious double meaning. Thank you Shamik, you write beautiful poetry.

    • Shamik Banerjee

      Thank you so much, Norma. Your comment made me smile. Yes, a sonnet, definitely!

  6. Paul A. Freeman

    A fine poem with one of the most profound final lines I’ve ever read.

    Thanks for the read, Shamik.

    • Shamik Banerjee

      Your words motivated me, Mr. Freeman. Grateful for your thoughts!

  7. Gigi Ryan

    Dear Shamik,
    This poem shows a heart which desires the better part of life – internal beauties that do not fade away. I trust the harvest for you will outlast the years of wobbly bones.
    Thank you for something lovely to think upon.

  8. Shamik Banerjee

    Dear Gigi,
    Thank you so much for this warm comment and for the beautiful interpretation.
    To be able to retain the capacity to write verse even at old age would be the greatest blessing of all.

    Thank you again for your wishes and this lovely comment.

  9. Margaret Coats

    Shamik, may you have many excellent harvests similar to the one you reaped and revealed to us in this beautiful poem. To avoid what you fear at the end, continued labor on your land, and thanks to the Lord who gives it, seems best. There may well be drought in some years, but persevere while you can wield the scythe.

  10. Adam Sedia

    A wonderful piece that is at once light yet deep. A marvelous conceit likening the inner creativity with the land’s fertility. Great work!


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