National Poetry Month, day 11: Overalls!

For today’s selection I turned to Google, and I simply searched “Overalls poetry”. I figured somebody out there has to be waxing poetic about overalls! And I found more poetry so devoted than I expected, to be honest. Some of it is kids’ poetry, some of it is not…anyway, I especially liked this one, by writer Anne Maren-Hogan.

“Overalls”, by Anne Maren-Hogan

A new suit of overalls has among its beauties
those of a blueprint. –James Agee

In matching Osh-Kosh overalls,
straw hats,
and identical names of James,
father and son
lean on the horse-drawn rake.

Oats in March, corn in May,
beans last,
just in time to start cutting hay.
In his fresh indigo overalls,
the son steps
into planting time.

The father’s overalls, a subtle blue,
weather-worn by wind, sun, sweat,
like his face and arms.

The overalls cover the chest,
a protective shell.
Hips heavy with pockets,
room for pliers and handkerchiefs,
as their hands glide
to rest in front pockets.

Crossed straps lie flat
as a harness on their backs.
Baggy stove pipe
pantlegs allow
fence climbing then kneeling
to taste soil.

Mealtime, overalls bring
the outdoors in, grease smears
from fittings, pig manure,
fresh hay hanging from cuffs.

At day’s end overalls dangle on pegs,
distinct shapes,
after conforming to bodies,
submitting to all the daylight hours.

They drape the bedroom wall,
ready for dawn,
when again the men pour
into them, rousing them
back to the work
of desperate sky-watching,
sniffing the air, for clues of what’s to come.

I got the poem from The Great Smokies Review. Maren-Hogan, according to her bio there, “a poet-gardener, relishes farm life with her husband in the South Toe Valley beneath Mt. Mitchell. Her childhood on an Iowa farm, which her family still farms, provides material for her poetry, as deep and rich as the black earth from which she comes.”


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