The Montana Farmstead

Montana Farmstead

An older image but one I have never published before. About 7 years ago I took a solo camping trip across the west to explore parts of the U.S. that I’d only imagined through reading books by the likes of Stegner , Doig, Harrison and Dillard. It took me longer than I expected to get used to the sense of space out west. The sky does seem to go along forever before your eye stops moving. Within this landscape were all sorts of architectural structures I’d only glimpsed in films or in my imagination and none of them prepared me for the rough-hewn beauty of these places.


The West Country
By Alice Cary

Have you been in our wild west country? then
   You have often had to pass
Its cabins lying like birds’ nests in
   The wild green prairie grass.

Have you seen the women forget their wheels
   As they sat at the door to spin—
Have you seen the darning fall away
   From their fingers worn and thin,

As they asked you news of the villages
   Where they were used to be,
Gay girls at work in the factories
   With their lovers gone to sea!

Ah, have you thought of the bravery
   That no loud praise provokes—
Of the tragedies acted in the lives
   Of poor, hard-working folks!

Of the little more, and the little more
   Of hardship which they press
Upon their own tired hands to make
   The toil for the children less:

And not in vain; for many a lad
   Born to rough work and ways,
Strips off his ragged coat, and makes
   Men clothe him with their praise.

Source: The Longman Anthology of Poetry (Pearson, 2006)