Monday, October 14, 2019

YOKEL (1) ~

Y  O  K  E  L
a long Green Mountain poem


Selected books by Bob Arnold

Rope of Bells
Back Road Caller
Go West
Long Time Together
Where Rivers Meet
On Stone, a builder’s notebook
By Heart, pages from a lost Vermont
This Romance
Happy As You Are
American Train Letters
Tiny Summer Book
Beautiful Swimmers
Engine Trouble
Once In Vermont
Sunswumthru A Building
So What Should We Call This Life?
Life’s Little Day
Dream Come True
Hiking Down From A Hillside Sky
My Sweetest Friend
A Possible Eden

( 2011 )



This Morning In The Rain
 What Does The Robin Do   3
Thieves   4
Ministers   5
How Wars Begin   7
Skill   8
Countryside   9
Holiday   10
Earrings   11
Poet   12
Stars   13
Occupied   14
Fitzcarraldo   15
Preacher   16
Innuendo   17
Rule Of Thumb   18

B R I D E   O F  Y O K E L

Work Day   21
Nothing   22
Limp   23
Diary   24
Garden   25
Bomb   26
She Talks   27
Snazzy   28
Moses   29
Thaw   30
Chores   31
Farm Voice   32
Love Her   33
A Gift For The Living   34
Fix-a-flat   35
Wait A Moment   37
Giraffe   38
The Evening Bird   39
The Kiss   40
Mankind   41

S O N   O F  Y O K E L

Hot Work Day   45
Staring At The Engine   46
Driving   47
In Valley   48
Wreck   49
Fire   50
Neighbor   51
Visitors   52
Visitors 2   53
Visitors 3   54
Visitors 4   54
Visitors 5   55
Cellar Job   56
The Worse Thing About A Young Son   57
One Of The Best Things About A Young Son   57
Goliath   58
Teddy   59
Mowing   60

W O O D C U T T E R  Y O K E L

Peavey   63
Manual   64
Hike   65
Planet   66
Election   67
Timberman   68
Vinegar   69
This Is What Native Says At 50 Feet Up   70
Native Never Made It   72
Without   73
Wind   74
Woodlot   75
Logger   76
Old Trick   77
Woodcutter’s Memo   78
Lumbermen   79
Hauling Wood   80
Reclaimed   81

B A S T A R D  Y O K E L

Men Without Women   85
Farmhand   86
Killing in the Farmyard   87
Old Hand   88
Old Town   89
Other   90
City~Boy   91
Work Truck   92
Names   93
Big Mouth   94
Potatoes   95
To Build A Barn   96
Stonemason Credo   98
Back Road Archaeology   99
An Old Timer   100
Chimney Fire   101
Gone   102

P A S T U R E S  O F  Y O K E L

Field Guide   105
Pastures of Plenty   106
Lifetime   108
Parallax   110
Farmer   111
July in the Sun   112
After the War   113
Tough Guy   114
Ceremonial   115
Yesterday Today Tomorrow   116
Come Closer   117
After Chores   118
Info   119

G O ~ A L O N G  Y O K E L

Milking   123
Pals   124
The Moral   125
Peaceable Kingdom   126 ~ 134
Manure   128
Makes No Difference   129
Dodge   131
Spring Air   132
Many Spring Seasons   133
Little Differences   135
Nowhere   136
Go~Along   137

Author’s Biography   139


You got tuh go there tuh know there



for a river & its valley 

This Morning in the Rain
What Does the Robin Do

Takes long brown grass mowings

Neglected by the rest of the world

High off to her maple tree nest —

Sings back to us


It was the best of times before the newcomers

And jokers and snitches moved down here

Into the valley. One of the best jobs we ever

Did was to steal the finest rock off of the stone

Walls that lined here and there along the

Roadside, and when I built the long retaining

Stone wall for Native in front of his new house

It was this stone I used to work with that came

Off the land later owned by the newcomers.

Of course I had to caution Native’s boys not

To touch my own stone walls since you couldn’t

Always trust the kids no matter what they did.

It took me two years to build those walls.

And for over a week the boys would go down

The road with Native and throw the stone onto

His pickup and get it back to me waiting with

Enough to do and whatever couldn’t be easily

Moved Native would climb up into his bucket

Loader and flip-over for me what wide rock

Would set best at the bottom and allow this

Wall to now stand up over many years.


The time we took the mattresses to Native

Ended up all wrong and not what we intended.

You learn to expect that. What you would do

They may not. It was three perfectly fine mattresses

That came with the old farmhouse when we

Bought it from the minister. Ministers that

Practice their trade of being holy men tend

To have the strangest habits but thank god

For these habits. Our man kept things and

Often gave them away as gifts when the

Occasion arose. So after we bought his

Old place where he lived a spartan existence

Of visiting from town to write his sermons

We moved out the lawn chairs he and his

Wife used for furniture inside and out—and

That’s the first time I’d ever seen that—then

Some other odds and ends and finally to the

Cache of mattresses on the second floor

Piled up as if once upon a time the minister

Had plans to do something up there, where

The bats and mice lived a carnival life of

Making the place all their own, but what

Do you expect since for years before a

Farmer had stored his hay up there and

Tossed down the bales to his small herd

Of cows below kept there as free rent for

Keeping the place grazed. Where now we

See windows used to be holes in the wall

Tacked over with loose blowing tar-paper.

It didn’t take long to get the mattresses

Down the stairs and loaded onto the top

Of our VW bug since we were in a hurry

To clean up that second floor and make it

Part of a house once again.

I’d been working with Native

That week and could see his three

Young boys running the dooryard like 

Puppies on two legs, filthy and laughing —

It may be a smidge crowded to fit the 

Mattresses into their small trailer but it’d be

Comfortable and Native was all for it when

He saw me sway the load down into his yard

As he crawled out from under his truck gunked

Up but appreciative. He quickly scanned the

Old farmstead where I had worked with his father

And as he did, I did again, wondering how in

The hell one guy could make it all go down the

Drain so fast with junk car parts and wrecks

And a million half-finished jobs that his heart

Was once into but hey, why not set them over

On the roof of that Chevy and I’ll do something

With them, he said. He then helped me shift the

Load from the VW onto the other car and we

Talked awhile and I felt good when leaving and

Taking a final look at the minister’s mattresses

And how much he would have liked this gesture.

But I’ve learned ever so slowly. A pity.

Three days later after one of those wicked summer

Thunderstorms I stopped down at Native’s and

Couldn’t believe, and still don’t, how the mattresses

Were still on the Chevy, never moved, went through

The storm and sagged triple-layer-cake-like and ruined.

Native came out of his trailer finishing some snack

Nodded his head and said hello.

I waved back and still do.

Bob Arnold