Loren Eiseley

Poison Oak

From Prairie Schooner

This fallow acre lapsed to weed,
Unturned beneath the sun,
Is nourishing a wilder seed
Domestic furrows shun.

And yet, in the forsaken field,
When ruined leaves are black,
The chosen harvest may but yield
A thin smoke in its track.

I’d rather like lost acres go
With bitter weeds to bed
Or flaunting in the frost fires show
How poison oak turns red!

Reprinted from Prairie Schooner Vol III No 4 (Fall 1929) by permission of University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 1929 by the Wordsmiths of Sigma Upsilon.