April Poetry Month (Day 5): Greg Galbraith #npm17 #wppoets


Greg GalbraithAfter graduating with a degree in Dairy Science from the University of Illinois in 1981, Greg Galbraith was the assistant manager on two farms before buying his own farm in eastern Marathon County Wisconsin, where his ancestors began farming in 1890. Together with his wife Wendy and son David, they own and operate a 120 cow grazing based dairy farm. As of this writing they are in their second year of the three year transition to becoming certified organic dairy producers. Gleaned from a collection of daily poem writing over the last four years, Germinations, is his first book of poetry.


Midnight Snack

in pasta fine as angels
hair a map to a hill
in Golgotha

on brittle scales
of ancient cod Valhalla’s
trail and Odin’s proverbs
on my plate

in thin white gravy corns
of pepper swim in Krishna’s
perfect world

then on my nightstand
whisky spills when I lean
to hear amazing grace
sung lowly in her dreaming

so I lie back down to search
my sleep for a sliver of light
and the righteous path that
leads to Dharma


Piecework Days
after the French Symbolists

Off I went, bloody knuckles into torn pockets,
my cloak of denim, a shroud protecting.
The low grey sky my only muse, always guiding.
Hat pressed down over ears muffling the sound
of scuffing grit under laced leather boots.

My only dungarees torn at the crotch,
thus I went.
To a farm of pin oak, red maple, and crab,
exhumed from the flat earth laid in rows
with spring buds clenched like black power fists.
A knife sheathed at my hip and bale of sisal twine
in my grip.

I flashed my blade and claimed the row
tied the soil bound roots with gunny
half-hitched the sprawling branches
until evening brought a respite- so I gave
my tally and took the jack. Cash in hand.

My nightly inn had the lit sombrero
and the bent string wail of Muddy Waters.
Blue smoke hung to the ceiling over
the men who captured me with
the ease of their fretted sounds.

Closing time was the solo walk under
the stars that moved above me in my
silken husk of loneliness, content
amongst the drunken ones. Before my
sleep I read the absinthe tinted verse of
Frenchmen and dreamt the amorous
dreams only a young man would, each
one a jest of twisted irony. And while I slept
conversed with Baudelaire, Rimbaud,
and Verlaine.

Then in the morning clutched my leather
boots against my heart, and raw were my
fingers as they traced upon the laces.
Knowing this was the closest I would come
to strumming ballads on guitar.


Playing Bach at Harvest Time

Morning- I slide the window down
shutting out the wren’s notes

my fingers stained with yesterday’s
hay-work the ebony fretboard

e minor notes say politicians
never lie and droughts will end

then the dow falls and tires melt
in the blistering streets of Delhi

my Segovia hands play grace
notes tumbling down to cupped

ears of mice, the great listeners
in the walls of the farmhouse

my Leo Kottke hands tell me don’t do
any work today, stay in & play

six strings that say no one must die
while hayfields wave their ocean hands

beckoning me to harvest