The Tree Planter on the Georgia Crew

He swings. The hoedad opens up the ground.
He sets the seedling, steps, and moves around.

For every bend a nickel he will earn.
He counts by thousands and without concern.

His caffeinated soda’s cheap and sweet
With peanut butter sandwiches to eat.

At night he camps with others like him who
Will spend four months together on this crew.

He works alone but some come there with spouses
While others waste their time and break up houses.

He’d not expect to find some girl who’d stay
And some feel life’s less lonely lived that way.


Written for dVerse Tuesday Poetics: Artisan hosted by Kim featuring poems by Seamus Heaney.

Author: frankhubeny

I enjoy walking, poetry and short prose as well as taking pictures with my phone.

16 thoughts on “The Tree Planter on the Georgia Crew”

  1. I love your poem, Frank, which emulates Heaney’s so well. Even better that you have written about a tree planter – has to be my favourite person in the world! Great word, ‘hoedad’ – I’d never seen or heard it before and now I want to use it myself. You’ve even described his lunch, a marvellous detail, which makes me think you must know or have known him, especially as you have written about his loneliness so poignantly in the final rhyming couplet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve planted trees for large forestry companies for three winters when I was young. There is a sort of art to it, but it is easy to learn if one can handle the physical exercise involved. The hoedad has a long handle, like an axe, with a curved blade that is swung into the ground to make a hole for the seedling. I have worn out a couple of them planting perhaps over a quarter million seedlings. I’m glad you liked it. I tried to imitate the second example you provided.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember my first day planting trees. It drizzled rain. We still worked. I was sore from exercising muscles I never exercised before. I felt I was going to die, but then the next day was better, and the next and sometime during that third day I realized no one was dying and it felt fine. It is hard even after one gets used to doing it. Thanks!

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  2. Yes, Frank, you nailed the Heaney form, and made the message your own. I always get tangled up in forced rhyme, but am willing to do it for dVerse prompts. You made it flow so smoothly, the rhyme never bothered me. Rhyme always feels forced, shallow, & restrictive within my own stanzas–unless I inadvertently create internal rhyme.

    Liked by 1 person

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