maine snow

The Plowman

The Earnestness of the Plowman

Robert Diamante


I work hard every spring

To redefine the lines between

my lawn and the gravel drive,

the sidewalk and the median that

spans to the curb:

lines blurred by the Plowman


For every winter,

after a long snowfall,

The Plowman comes

to “knock it all back.”

And every year I try to beat him to it;

I hurry out, even as the snow is still falling,

shoveling to find the edges where the driveway ends

and the lawn begins,

to find the lines to stay inside,

to define for the Plowman

those boundaries I love so much:

neat lines–the absolutely satisfying places

between gravel and grass, curb and walkway.


I’ve tried reflective spikes, which shoot up from

the drifting snow: beacons, edges.

But every spring, once the snow pack melts, I pick

chunks of gravel from my lawn and stack the useless spikes.

I lament the wounded earth that summer sometimes heals.


Once, I said to the Plowman (using the most amicable tone)

“One quick swipe up the drive is good enough for me!”

Nodding from the height of his

over-heated terrarium, steaming

with the scent of coffee and male,

he yelled, “no problem!”

in synch with the throb of Tull.


I was a hopeless interloper peering into this

heated world of scents and scraping,

every vent on high, turned inward:

the habitat of The Plowman,

the place from which he delivers upon

his absolute earnest promise to

“knock it all back!”—the place where

staying inside the lines isn’t good enough.