A Prairie Water Colour
by Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947)
Beside the slew the poplars play
In double lines of silver-grey: —
A trembling in the silver trees
A shadow-trembling in the slew.
Standing clear above the hill
The snow-grey clouds are still,
Floating there idle as light;
Beyond, the sky is almost white
Under the pure deep zenith-blue.
Acres of summer-fallow meet
Acres of growing gold-green wheat
That ripen in the heat.
Where a disc-harrow tears the soil,
Up the long slope six horses toil,
The driver, one with the machine; —
The group is dimly seen
For as they go a cloud of dust
Comes like a spirit out of earth
And follows where they go.
Upward they labour, drifting slow,
The disc-rims sparkle through the veil;
Now upon the topmost height
The dust grows pale,
The group springs up in vivid light
And, dipping below the line of sight,
Is lost to view.
Yet still the little cloud is there,
All dusky-luminous in air,
Then thins and settles on the land
And lets the sunlight through.
All is content. The fallow field
Is waiting there till next year’s yield
Shall top the rise with ripening grain,
When the green-gold harvest plain
Shall break beneath the harrow.
Still-purple, growing-gold they lie,
The crop and summer fallow. The vast sky
Holds all in one pure round of blue —
And nothing moves except the play
Of silver-grey in the poplar trees
Of shadow in the slew.