Farm Near a Bend in River Tummel

“A Marsh Farm” Peter Henry Emerson (1886) courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.


Farm Near a Bend in River Tummel

By Jeffrey Alfier


Farm Near a Bend in River Tummel

There was a shed here once. If you look close,
you can see grass ghosting its outline.

Any tool the day required could be found here.
Tack, as well: bits, bridles, a harness or two.

Never mind weather; some days I think decades
of dad’s swearing finally brought it down,

his voice burning beams like fire. Rust crumbling
from the ledges didn’t help. Neither did I,

backing the Landini loader against its worst wall.
My brother and I once set a drowned ewe inside—

it was our fault—we’d left a gate open. Never told
dad. He found out, of course. But that was the day

he got word his father died up north, a fall down
stone stairs along a Stornoway quay.

Look: there’s two planks left from the door.
You can still make out where the lock used to be.


(from The Red Stag at Carrbridge: Scotland Poems Aldrich Press, 2016)


About the Author: Jeffrey Alfier is 2018 winner of the Angela Consolo Manckiewick Poetry Prize, from Lummox Press. In 2014 he won the Kithara Book Prize, judged by Dennis Maloney. Publication credits include Crab Orchard ReviewSouthern Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Copper NickelEmerson ReviewIron Horse Literary ReviewKestrelHotel AmerikaMidwest QuarterlyPoetry Ireland Review and South Carolina Review. He is author of The Wolf YearlingIdyll for a Vanishing RiverFugue for a Desert MountainAnthem for Pacific Avenue: California PoemsSouthbound Express to Bayhead: New Jersey PoemsThe Red Stag at Carrbridge: Scotland PoemsBleak Music – a photo and poetry collaboration with poet Larry D. Thomas and The Storm Petrel: Poems of Ireland. He is founder and co-editor at Blue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review. An Air Force veteran, he is a member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

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