Where Good Night and Shut Up Sound the Same

The crows settling into the trees
make a deafening racket as if
outraged by the sun going down
by the damp chilly night coming on
though with reason to fret even so
further shouting more carrying on
endless others to share the complaint
what about me they cry as if
sent to bed hungry when all it is
slim pickings a sorry bellyful of
stale moldy bread scattered French fries
with some stupid dipping sauce
upsetting their delicate stomach
stuffed with crickets baby birds maggots
as they natter and groan on and on
getting it all off their chest
is this all we get where’s the sun gone
spiral down in a deepening gloom
where good night and shut up sound the same
where leaning in holding tight they fall silent
as one then the next dozes off

—Paul Hunter

For the past twenty-one years Paul Hunter has published fine letterpress poetry under the imprint of Wood Works, currently including twenty-six books and over sixty broadsides. His first collection of farming poems, Breaking Ground, 2004, from Silverfish Review Press, was reviewed in the New York Times, and received the 2004 Washington State Book Award. Other farming poems collections followed from Silverfish Review Press: Ripening, 2007, Come the Harvest, 2008, and Stubble Field, 2012. He has been a featured poet on The News Hour, and has a prose book on small-scale, sustainable farming, One Seed to Another: The New Small Farming, published by the Small Farmer’s Journal, 2010.

Published in Raven Chronicles, Vol. 21, 2015.