Potato Sacks

I have known before this fabric,
and have felt a weight within it--
without knowing in the early world
of textiles that its fiber, taken from
the jute plant grown in far off India,
Pakistan and Bangladesh, was spun
into yarn and weaved into the cloth
sacks I now know and speak of....
In my youth, many years ago, I tied
ten empty sacks around my middle,
moved down the up turned earth rows,
picking potatos which I placed
into a basket equaling one peck.
It took four baskets to fill one
burlap sack making one bushel--
one bushel which was left standing
behind me as I filled four more baskets
which filled one more sack until more
than one hundred sacks were filled
and left standing behind me at the end
of the day when I, dirt-covered and exhausted,
counted my sacks by tens and walked away
with money in my hand which I gave to my pa
who let me live at home another day.

J. D. Heskin

If you have any comments on this poem, J. D. Heskin would be pleased to hear from you.