Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Long Shadows

photo © Mark Butkus 2009
"The wheels on the bus..."

The long shadows
of the school bus
race alongside the pasture
brushing against
the crops in the field
knocking over fence-posts
the sun is still low
over the horizon
rising to begin
another new day

There is no laughter
within the walls
of the yellow and black babysitter
Behind the wheel
she sits, eying her coffee
her empty playground
rolls down dusty roads

She will return late afternoon
racing back the other way
The field-hands will
make note of the time
as they straighten out their backs
and watch as she goes by
They know that their day
working the earth is almost done

Thirty minutes later
the bus will pass them once again
slower this time, with care
with the voices of her precious cargo
blending into a cacophony
of childhood excitement

One hand from the parched earth
will wave
as it always does
at the passing tinted windows
Whether anyone inside
sees her or not
It is who she is
and the long shadows
touch her soul


— Mark Butkus



19 comments:

  1. nice..i love how you capture her... wondering if the school busses in the US are much the same as over here in germany...our seems to be so full that most of us had to stand..squished like sardines into a tin...and it was always very loud...so the busdriver was not really to be envied..smiles

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    1. The rural school buses move the future hopes of communities and are much more civilized...at least that has been my experience. I never knew school buses other than field trips and high school football games.

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  2. Love the image of the shadow brushing against and knocking things over. So creative and creative. I really do enjoy the rest of the poem as well, but that really hit me.

    Great work here.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and in promoting the ancient poems on your site.

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  3. smiles...this makes me warm that regardless she waves...and you know there just might be one on the bus that needs to see that....and even then you were one of the ones to notice...

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    1. as a passenger on a bus, a train or a car, it has always been a pleasure to see a wave and it never failed to result in a smile.

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  4. i love the image of the shadows racing over the fields and knocking over fenceposts.

    "The long shadows
    of the school bus
    race alongside the pasture
    brushing against
    the crops in the field
    knocking over fence-posts"

    you've told a vivid story with your verse.

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    1. Thank you Leslie. I enjoyed perusing your words on your site as well.

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  5. Brings back memories of my youth, we had "cacaphony" for sure, though we were passing small farms and woodlands in VT and not pastures where field hands counted their hours until the afternoon bus had passed. I wonder of the woman who waved, perhaps at the ghost of a child long gone. A story within a story. Very thoughtful/thought provoking piece.

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    1. Perhaps, Ginny. Perhaps. Thank you for sharing your school bus memories of Vermont - it's God's Country.

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  6. Lovely, I love how you capture her.:)

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  7. Mark,

    You could not have captured this scene more vividly. I felt like you were writing of where I live. I have to show this to a friend tomorrow. She drives a school bus, dirt roads, fields and all. Love this poem.

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  8. This is a wonderful poem ... I like the shadows knocking things over and the school bus as a 'yellow and black babysitter' and a playground...

    Really lovely ... esp how the worker raises her hand to the bus every evening. So awesome...

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  9. Well done! Brings back fond memories of school bus rides.

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  10. Wow the impact of that bus and it's environs and the people around ...wonderful how something so mundane can become such a focus for some ...captured beautifully ...thank you x

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  11. Who would've thought about writing a piece about a school bus? Excellently, perceptively written I must say. Thanks for sharing!

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  12. This is an interesting piece. Thanks for posting it. I wonder what the farm worker was thinking. Maybe she wished she had furthered her own education.

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  13. You pay close attention my friend. I really enjoyed this vision.

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