Paul Hunter

What A Boy Lies Awake Wondering


Footsore trudging these fields
while overhead dip and wheel
unfolding lives on the wing
some evenings every other living thing
seems dipped in desire glistening

so I envy the horse that can ripple
its skin out from under the horsefly
and the thousand-eyed horsefly
that bites me clean through
the workshirt stuck to my shoulders

I envy the hen so suspicious
of me she can turn her head backwards
and the slippery calf being nudged up
licked clean of its birth
all set to dance at a touch

and the water skeeter astride
the silvery skin of the horse trough
inhaled by those whiskery muzzles
and the green snake so still in the lilac
whose tongue neatly scissors the world


“What A Boy Lies Awake Wondering” is reprinted
from Ripening, (Silverfish Review Press, 2007).


Paul Hunter has lent a hand where it was needed—as teacher, performer, grassroots arts activist, worker on the land, and shade-tree mechanic. For the past 18 years he has published fine letterpress poetry under the imprint of Wood Works, currently including 26 books and over 60 broadsides. His poems have appeared in Alaska Fisherman’s Journal, Beloit Poetry Journal, Bloomsbury Review, Iowa Review, North American Review, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Raven Chronicles, The Small Farmer’s Journal, The Southern Review and Spoon River Poetry Review, as well as in six full-length books and three chapbooks. His first collection of farming poems, Breaking Ground, 2004, from Silverfish Review Press, was reviewed in the New York Times, and received the 2004 Washington State Book Award. A second volume of farming poems, Ripening, was published in 2007, and a third companion volume, Come the Harvest, appeared in 2008. He has been a featured poet on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. His recent prose book, One Seed to Another: The New Small Farming, was published by the Small Farmer’s Journal in 2010. A fourth collection of farming poems, Stubble Field, is due out from Silverfish Review Press, in May 2012.

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