Hard Ground

I begin the fencing work
by pounding the long steel posts
into earth that has not felt deep rain
in three months.

Standing in the shade
on a hundred-degree day,
I lift the capped iron pipe
of the heavy driver above the top end of the post,
strike downward again and again.

In the spring, ten strikes
would have driven each post
eighteen inches into the ground,
covering the flange
and anchoring it into the soil.

Now, it takes thirty, forty:
lifting again and again,
heaving the driver downward
and the quick blister on the finger
where the glove is torn.

Sometimes, I cannot tell
whether the post has moved
any deeper or not
but eventually,
all fourteen are sunk and set

except for the one
at the edge of the old driveway,
barely set,
a foot higher than the rest.

Sometimes we are called to a task
that we cannot quite complete
but must make a beginning,
leaving its finishing until
the soil is softer
or we are strengthened,
hoping that what we have done
will do well enough for now.

H. Arnett


About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Blair, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-five years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-one grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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