The Hired Man

All day I saw him cutting thistles in the field,
and as I watched, it made my own heart ache
to see him bend so long in that fierce heat,
I could not rest until he took his noon day break.

That afternoon, the heat was greater yet,
but still he stiffly bent and swung his hook;
and almost all the headland weeds were cut
at tea time, when I went outside to look.

One patch of thistles yet remained to do,
when with slow step he walked towards the gate,
I saw him lay his tools beneath the hedge
and pause, and seem to hesitate.

And when they said, next day, he'd gone away,
I thought of his slow step upon the hill;
no one else would undertake such toil
and in the field I see the uncut thistles still.

Cathleen Benson