Collected Poems of John Holmes
Holmes, John A., Jr.
Out in the country senses five
And seven more keep man alive.
One for back roads crossing so
They need lifetime long to go.
Two for water and when to pour.
Wood enough to keep the fire, -
Chopped, piled, dry in the shed;
Roof and blanket over the bed;
And time, make five; and apples six.
Seven is seeing to oil and wicks.
Eight is knowing your own land.
Ten and nine are head and hand
Putting together and making work
Eggs or engines by day or dark.
Food and fences, taxes, tools,
Mail and paint and leaves and walls,
Add to more than seven and five.
But a man's poems, to stay alive,
Like man, in the country, must be quick
With imagination's arithmetic.