Tricia Knoll

An Uncommon Prayer for the Farm

            after Brian Doyle

This morning three cracked and cleaned-out ducks eggs rested in mud. The ducks ignore the coop they share with broody hens. A raccoon slinked through the night, egg eater who slipped under the guard dog’s radar.

First petition:  safety.

Yellow jackets nest in the propane tank lid. A dead squirrel showed up yesterday in the grass while innocent-seeming dogs begged for a romp down to the creek. A mother tiger-cat stepped aside to let her kitten finish off a garter snake, her hand-me-down hunting dance. Later she ate a mouse. Two hawks flew in concentric rings over the chicken coop, and the guard dog barked at them. I work to get five range-born lambs to accept grain from my hand. Fated to become chops and roasts, they have a right to be skittish.

May we be safe within the confines of our being.

A farm is always in want of something. The deep hole we dug to the cracked irrigation valve needs filling. The piglets had metal tags in their ears before they came here to fatten up into proud Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs. One ear oozed the day before yesterday. Then the ear crusted up. Now the tag is gone.

So: repair.

Today – clear sky summer and a grass tickle-breeze. The black herding dog pants in sycamore shade. The kittens made a straw nest in the goat barn. Three species of butterflies are out and about, as are the moths that head-banged the lamps last night. The black currants, blueberries and raspberries are ripe. Organic vegetables are swelling up, and sure, abundant kale, and the first cucumber.

Repair of gratitude.


Published in Tricia Knoll’s book Broadfork Farm



Advice For the Traveler

Tuck your sliver of a silver saint in a breast pocket.

Let your lover kiss your arms, cheeks, lips, and neck
for protection. Wash your feet with lavender oil.

Double knot strong laces on generous shoes with hefty treads.

Pull the bill down on your green hat until a glory upends it
and the sweat of going gives over to cooling wind.

Take your thought thesaurus to find a new word
for surprises along the way.

Fold the pieces of the past you must carry
into cranes for your backpack.

When you despair of finding your destination,
look for carved stone.

When a hum falls from the highway, rub whichever bone
is your wishbone and keep on going.

Be not afraid of crosses by the road. Offer them
the gentle roses of your breath.


First published in Antiphon, Feb. 2017




Tricia Knoll’s poetry and haiku appear widely in journals.  In March 2018 Antrim House released Tricia Knoll’s new poetry How I Learned To Be White. Other poetry books include Urban Wild, Ocean’s Laughter, and Broadfork Farm ­– which center on eco-poetry and poetry of place. She can be reached at:  or at her webistewebsite: