Prayer of the Fields

by Katherine Gotthardt

In withering arms of darkness,
dew trying to pass for rainwater, 
beaten terrain attempts to rise,
shake off exhaustion of overwork,
murmurs, “never enough.” Scraggly 

stalks holding their breath – 
they wait for the massage of soil,  
clumps of barren dirt
separated by bony fingers 
pulling the last weeds of the season.

This is how fields affirm the day, 
tucking their last hopes 
beneath visible ribs.
This is how nature ruminates.
And then begins the questioning:

Who knew it would become so hard?
Who knew Earth’s hot temper 
would flare in the face of their virility,
science and charity shunning them,
abandoning them to the rough hands of not knowing?
The world does not extend far enough,
and so, in the shadow of waning grain, 
they whisper prayers in the ancient language:  

May nothing now be wasted. 
May everything planted thrive.
May food appear as it used to
when they were young as morning,
growing alongside miracles,
believing all would survive. 

Katherine Gotthardt

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt, M.Ed., writing concentration, hails from the Northern Virginia/D.C. metro area. She considers herself a writer by nature and by trade, having begun writing for fun as soon as her mother helped teach her to read. An active part of the literary community, Katherine is current president and a founding member of Write by the Rails (WbtR), the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club. Katherine has been a Prince William County Poet Laureate nominee and was the winner of Inside Nova’s 2019 and 2020 Best of Prince William award in the category of author. Her poetry and prose book Get Happy, Dammit: Staying Inspired and Motivated in an Often-Unhappy World received a Silver Award from the Nonfiction Authors Association. Katherine's children’s book, A Crane Named Steve, hit number one in its category on Amazon in 2019. Katherine then took first place in the free verse category of Loudoun County Library Foundation’s 2020 Rhyme On poetry contest for her piece "Discussion Topic." The Prince William Arts Council and Poet Laureate Circle awarded her the 2020 Outstanding Poetry Project Award for her leadership in Write by the Rails' Poems Around Town poetry installation. In 2021 Katherine earned second place for "Aftermath" in a Poetry Society of Virginia national contest and the regional Seefeldt Award for Arts Excellence in the category of Individual Artist. She won first place in the Virginia Writers Club statewide Golden Nib contest in the poetry category for her poem "Kayak." Katherine was recognized as a PW Perspective 2021 DMV Best Business award winner in the category of author. While Katherine is well-known for her poetry, she also has established a solid reputation for writing articles, columns and short fiction. She is a full-time writer for a government contracting company and is published in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has authored 11 books: Poems from the Battlefield, Furbily-Furld Takes on the World, Approaching Felonias Park, Weaker Than Water, Bury Me Under a Lilac, Late April, A Crane Named Steve, Get Happy, Dammit, D.C. Ekphrastic: Crisis of Faith, Thirty Years of Cardinals Calling and Get Happier, Dammit. She uses proceeds from her books to support giving back initiatives.
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