Iowa Writes

"Ode to Thresher" (A Henry County Poem)

A separate kind, thresher, I think you mean
to come to terms with western land, honest and clean.
And what you gather, what you glean
fills a nation's basket for futures seen.
Say, thresher, when the day's toil is through
where is your wander, who is your Sue?
I could take a liking to the likes of you—
all chaff, straw muscle, strapped inside denim-blue.
As first sun harvests sky, thresher, rise and go you must
to where insecure seed clings to morning husk.
A practiced gesture by your hand, bullied thrust,
she's soon a sandwich, bread for lunch.
A pleasant mount, thresher, I think you mean
to serve your country by old-fashioned means.
But how you gather amber, love, how you glean
will soon as noon be replaced by man's lust for machine.

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

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John D. Thompson is the author of six books of poetry, including 99 Voices, 99 Lives: County Poems of Iowa and On Holiday, a book of seasonal verse.  Born and raised in Iowa, Thompson is passionate about creating Iowa-based poems from geography and history throughout the state. Over the past few years, he traveled to all 99 counties in Iowa and wrote a poem about each county during his visit there. "Ode to Thresher" is the Henry County Poem, written in Mount Pleasant just a few weeks before Thresher Days in 2005. The poet may be reached at

This page was first displayed
on November 21, 2008

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