I didn’t go to Europe
Or to the Governor’s Scholar Program
Because I was expected to work
On the farm

My absence was unexcused
When I helped my papaw set tobacco
Even though I had straight As

Instead of going to Virginia with the choir
Dad said he’d buy me a calf
I raised it
Then sold it for beef

And made lots of money

I spent it on my Sunday School class
And Prison Fellowship Ministries
There were people who had less than we had

I thought we were rich

Especially when we were together
Especially when I walked up that big hill
And surveyed our land
Looked up at the big blue sky
And listened to the frogs croaking in the pond
Or when I’d dig my hands into

Rich wet earth

Or meander through the forest
Or tickle my toes by dipping them
In the eddies of the creek
There was no green in the world
That could compare with

Kentucky pasture

That is why it was so hard to trade
Pasture green
For Cardinal Red
After I graduated high school

It was one of the only times I’d ever seen
My daddy cry
As he drove away with Mom
Back to the pastures
In his pick-up truck

And when I laid in bed that night
Thinking I’d never fall asleep
With all the planes, trains, and sirens

I thought of home

It was for love that I stayed
And for love
That I walked away
It seems green pastures
Not only yield plentiful harvests

They yield grit
And grit is gold