“The Farm, The Sky” by Sarah Coury
Sarah Coury has worked as a small business owner, field biologist, and park ranger. She gardens in the summer and writes in the winter. Her poetry, prose, and nonfiction have appeared in a number of literary journals. She lives with her family in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Mysteries abound. Who is the “we” who speaks? Did they “buy the farm” literally or figuratively? They’re not part “of the old wood, the rough temple” but they have certainly merged into the landscape. Their long stillness seems almost disembodied, choral, as they observe their environment. They invite us past the decay, beautiful though it may be, to witness something more liminal: a landscape left fallow invites the sky downward, brings it “close, immediate,” refigures it as another form of wildlife. And as exhilarating as the sky falling to earth as a winged creature might be, what is even more thrilling is the suggestion that there are creatures able to lie still enough to witness it. Which circles around to the initial mystery: who speaks?
The small caps of Snow White are rough hewn (the w’s and s’s especially) which makes each line into a “vast and quiet cedar beam.” Its tiny punctuation amplifies the effect, eliding the sentences together into solid text. Gloucester’s curves and weight provide a slight relief from the blocky body, like a sign that remains upright long after its farm has been abandoned.