Crop Markings | Lisa McCabe

Historic heat, drought for a month,
barley stunted beneath an indifferent sun,
begs for water in the Vale of Glamorgan,
the croplands of Monmouth.

While a plane in the cloudless sky not far
above performs its aerial reconnaissance,
trains its eye upon the evidence,
traces like a lover’s vein or scar

greening geometrics in a yellow
field—Iron-age village, Roman fort or tower,
dowsing roots pillage the hollows
of ditches and moats furrowed beneath hoof and plow.

A thousand years they lay buried, ruin upon ruin,
now divined and logged by the spotter’s lens,
civilizations morphed to an archaeologist’s boon.
What happens next? It all depends

on what we choose, if in fact a choice remains—
ice retreats, grasslands flame, seas erode beyond defence,
we confront our end in these antediluvian lanes;
late is the season for repair or recompense.

Oracular, fleeting, they rise if only now to say
if we don’t quit this soon, we’ll become like them;
both conquered and conqueror bent to pray
for the rain to stop or to fall again.


Lisa McCabe lives and writes in Lahave, Nova Scotia, Canada. She studied Film at York University, Toronto, and English Literature at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She has published or has poems forthcoming in The Sewanee Review, A3 Review, Better Than Starbucks, HCE Review,  and Limestone Review, among other print and electronic journals.

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