Farming Haikus

Lil John McKee - farmer man

Lil John McKee – farmer man

(Clarksdale, Mississippi) By Lil John McKee

This installment of Lil John’s Ag Corner (or whatever you homies want to call it) owes its origins to my favorite agricultural humorist, Mack Ray, a farmer near Marion Arkansas, who wrote several years for a national cotton magazine.

Sadly, Mack is no longer entertaining the farming community with his monthly column; however, one of his most memorable columns was one on farming haikus. A haiku is a Japanese poem with three verses consisting of 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively (at least in the English version of them). So, in honor of Mack, here are a few of my own.

Another sunrise
Another generation
Thank you, God, I farm.

Mama said don’t farm
So I did it anyway
Mama, she was right.

Monsanto is my partner
I want a divorce.

My tractor meets a light pole
Was Buddha driving?

John Deere parts I fetch
My planter needs a sprocket
We’ll have it Monday.

Hark, my lovely wife!
I think she is bringing lunch!
Nope, she needs some cash.

They call it welfare
People say we don’t need it
Ah, but landlord does.

Not today Albert
I loaned you cash yesterday
My tractor, idle.

Hey Bubba, you hick
Can you even spell farming?
GPS you say?

Help me to cope, Lord
I need your steady guidance
Bless my thirsty land.


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  1. haiku away.. hey man these are great! you’ve got a lot of wonderful plain speak here.. well done!!
    i’d love to see you escape the psuedo-haiku art form, and jump into a dance with the literary form. you’d absolutely kill it. but, in case you are not familiar, here’s a tip or two:

    begin with a seasonal word or phrase such as “lemon blossoms,” or “cold fog.” look for a way to create a structural juxtaposition in the verse by cutting it into two parts, via your “cutting word” or kireji. sometimes punctuation can really speak here when the words don’t otherwise make it clear. also, your last sentence can really drive home with some carefully placed punctuation. and hey, i can’t think of a better song and dance than haiku built around the joys and foibles of farming! 🙂

    of course, haiku should spark emotion and brother you’ve definitely got that going on here!!!
    no matter which art form you choose, again great work!!

  2. Joshua,
    Thanks for the comments. I have no doubt brutalized the art form, but since I am a farmer who comes home greasy half the time, it is hard to take much of what I write too seriously. I do appreciate the form; however, and enjoy being able to evoke an emotion in so few words.

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