I just can’t till this land no more

Ghosts - Bodie State Park, CA
I just can’t till this land no more,
I just can’t till this land.
It’s a barren land, this land I hoe,
seeded with the salt of tears.
I stand on this land and it pulls me down
yearning to swallow me whole.

Here the wind whispers to the plow,
the plow to me and I to the yoke back:
You live only to die, to reap what is sown
and to gnaw the bitter root.

Carry on.


There are times when, out of desperation, fear, hope or love, we try to hold on to things and to control them. But they cannot be held, cannot be controlled and it is futile to try—they only strangle in your grip.

Santayana said, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. If there is humor built into Nature, that is it.

The photograph is entitled Ghosts and was taken in the ghost town of Bodie in Bodie State Park, CA. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

Thank you for reading I just can’t till this land no more. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.


Filed under Poetry

4 responses to “I just can’t till this land no more

  1. Hi John! Yay! Happy to be reading you again. And this beautiful piece basically sums up my day, only in a much for eloquent and pretty way than I would have described it! Kim

    • Hello Kim! I am so sorry for you and your day if this poem is any summary of it. It must have been miserable. It’s good to be back as much as I am. I have missed it!

      By the way, please check out the Book of Bokeh.

  2. It must be my computer, John, but I cannot find the “Like” button … Strange. This piece is intensely grounding, and it reminds me of Ecclesiastes … T

    • T, no it’s not your computer, it’s me. I have an option to not use the ‘Likes’ button. It is not that I do not want people to like my poetry, or care that they do not. It is more that for me (and I think a lot of people) getting lots of ‘Likes’ starts to be the job, the reason why I am blogging. I just want to stay focused on why I write or post and not be distracted by anything else.

      I leave the option to leave a reply, and those I cherish.