The reaping machine whirred and chugged
in ever-decreasing circles
round the last patch of standing corn.
Sweating village women
in cotton overalls and gumboots
stooked the cut wheat.
Men in leather leggings
tied at the knees with string
waited, holding cudgels.
We kept a pet rabbit at school;
I’d feed him with lettuce leaves;
he liked to nibble bits of carrot.
Now, thwack went the stout sticks
as small terrified animals
ran in all directions.
On the bloodied stubble
tiny furry corpses
lay staring at the sun.
~ Joan Condon. ©