The Harvesting

I slipped into a fatal sleep,
Alone the other day,

And waking found that I was reaped,
Like wheat that sickles slay …

The new realm was a threshing floor
That drew out inner grain—

My inner self, my inner core,
The ‘me’ that would remain.

It cleared away the weevils too,
While winnowing the hull;

And as the chaff through warm air blew,
There came to view my soul!

My husk now thoroughly was purged,
And all that stood was me—

A naked core made pure emerged
Into eternity

About this poem

While the poem is about harvesting, it becomes evident that what is being harvested is not wheat grain, but rather the inner self or spirit of a person. A ‘threshing floor’, in the sense that I refer to it in this poem, is a large circular area with a smooth surface where harvested wheat stocks are laid and then beaten, usually with a flail (a sort of whip), in order to draw out the grain. In order to draw out the grain thoroughly the hull (or husk) must be removed from it during the threshing process. All the leftover material and debris is called chaff and must be blown away from the wheat grain in a process called winnowing. Weevils are small beetles that wreak havoc on wheat stocks and stored grain. 

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Submitted by Vixility on October 15, 2023

Modified by Vixility on October 15, 2023

32 sec read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 494
Words 108
Stanzas 8
Stanza Lengths 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2

John W. May

John W. May has lived in Colorado all his life. He currently works in the field of ophthalmology and loves to mountain bike and read about history. John first became a lover of poetry in 2008 after having read a poem by John Milton. He has been reading and studying the works of various poets since. His favorite poets are Emily Dickinson, Fyodor Tyutchev and W. B. Yeats. more…

All John W. May poems | John W. May Books

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Discuss the poem The Harvesting with the community...

  • donka_k
    This poem is like a Psalm, a song of rebirth or discovery of one's own real identity. Very subtle yet powerful!! A true delight to read. Bravo!
    LikeReply23 days ago
  • ritchiechelle
    Wonderful my friend. I would not change one line of this.. I wish I had written it!
    LikeReply6 months ago
  • JokerGem
    Poetry pal, I’m just going to say this:
    Reading anything you’ve written and reading something of yours for the first time -as with this- I’m always struck with the sensation that I’m meeting the mind of an authority, or one of established foreknowledge...
    I don’t know how you’ve adopted that attribute (though I’m sure extensive research surely doesn’t hurt) but it makes your work that much more enjoyable. 
    LikeReply 17 months ago
    • Vixility
      Haha, how did this comment slip past me? You’re too kind, my friend, too kind. The truth is, I mostly get inspired by other poets, sometimes by events or a book I’m reading. I will from time to time fall on an idea that requires studying and, I must admit, these are sometimes just as fun to work on as those which rapidly emerge from some wild insight of imagination.

      Being a big fan of your works, this comment of yours is truly flattering! Thanks for swinging by.
      LikeReply7 months ago
    • JokerGem
      I just wanted you to know that to me, something about YOUR style and influences stand out as being well-deserving of being in conversations about contemporary gifted writers. I shouldn't be surprised; knowing you are so well-versed on many classic and current poets, it stands to reason much of that could of 'rubbed off' on you -if you will- and contributed to this air of professionalism I detect. Whatever it is, it's a good thing--trust me.

      It's my pleasure, stopping by. Thanks again for being a true fan and confidant. Also, just to alert you, I did not take part in the October contest but l’ll be around for the next one most likely - and eager to read the entries and winners. Good Luck!
      LikeReply 17 months ago
  • adam.gutteridge
    Such a thought-provoking poem John. The wheat processing is a perfect analogy, not to mention an original one. Moreover I though your explanation of the poem was fantastic. I certainly learned some things I didn’t know. Concise, imaginative and perfect! Well done my friend. 
    LikeReply 28 months ago
    • Vixility
      Adam! Hey, thank you …The truth is I’m usually very reluctant to ‘explain’ aspects of a poem I wrote because I trust that the reader will understand and receive it in his/her own way. But …If Yeats hadn’t left notes along the margins of many of his works, the mythic and historic background of those Irish poems would have been completely lost to me. I’m so grateful he did this.Because of those notes left by Yeats and his example, I try (as seldom as possible) to do the same. 
      LikeReply7 months ago
    • Vixility
      Thank you for stopping by, Adam.
      LikeReply7 months ago
  • donka_k
    Only God can cause a living experience, to know our real self -- in Him-- and be separated from the "chaff" the unreal. You imagery is biblical and the Word of Christ works and lives in us when we receive it. "He came to his own and his own received him not but to all who received him he gave the right to become the children of God" the gospel of John. Be blessed 
    LikeReply 18 months ago
  • Symmetry60
    It's odd that I deplore writing rhyming poetry but love when someone is really good at it. You're damn good at it. I wish I had the knack like you do. This is just over the top good. I'm not bitter. 
    LikeReply 28 months ago
    • Vixility
      Steven, you are all too kind my friend. That poem of yours—“Humor of Getting Old”—has been a thorn in my side ever since I read it (in a good way, of course).

      I have always found it incredibly difficult to convey humor in poetry, and you did it so well with that piece that I’m moved with envy at your ability. I give that poem a deep salute of respect, and hope to work on one that constantly looks back to yours as a model.

      I appreciate your stopping by and commenting.
      LikeReply 28 months ago
  • donka_k
    A powerful picture of separating the wheat from the chaff... the error from truth (almost like a NDE). I lived the imagery and the profound message of this poem.
    LikeReply 18 months ago
    • Vixility
      Wow! Writing this piece is one thing, but to have lived it!? That is a story I would love to hear more about!
      LikeReply8 months ago
  • karlcfolkes
    John, this excellent piece is very well done; concisely written with strong Biblical overtones of sacrificial repentance and rebirth. A thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish. Kudos to you. I invite you to read my poem “Warfare and Peace: Distempers of the Human Mind.” 
    LikeReply 18 months ago
    • Vixility
      Thank you for that generous compliment. I most certainly will stop by and take a look at that poem of yours.
      LikeReply8 months ago
  • B.mathislange
    oops....Syckle's not cycles
    LikeReply8 months ago
    • B.mathislange
      sickles lol
      LikeReply 18 months ago
    • Vixility
      Brandi! Hi. Thank you thank you. I really had to concentrate a lot for this one—means a lot to me, your stopping by with those kind words.
      LikeReply8 months ago
  • B.mathislange
    I've swung a few cycles in my day. You have captured this medifore precisely.
    LikeReply 18 months ago
  • Prisma
    Great poem. It has an old-fashioned feel to it, in the best possible way.
    LikeReply8 months ago
  • susan.brumel
    What a creative way to describe ‘baring one’s soul’, spirit, inner thoughts and feelings. The harvesting of one’s self is not an easy endeavor, but a satisfying one. Thank you once again for a great poem. 
    LikeReply 18 months ago
    • Vixility
      Thank you Sue! i could say the same about your own poetry—creatively expressing your internal self. A big fan!
      LikeReply8 months ago
  • Kaytee
    This poem is amazing and I love the imagery and metaphor of the wheat. Thanks for explaining some of terms. Great use of rhyme. I love imperfect rhyme, I think it really shows creativity. Love this!!
    LikeReply 18 months ago
    • Kaytee
      just to clarify, the poem is PERFECT! And I love the rhymes that make you think.
      LikeReply 18 months ago
    • Vixility
      The study behind this poem was a blast! The idea came, but the whole threshing process was foreign to me, hence the study.

      I usually feel reluctant to add commentary to anything I write, but since some of the terminology and threshing processes might be (as it was for me) foreign, I gave in and added it.

      Thanks for stopping by, Kaytee!
      LikeReply8 months ago
  • David_Zeoli
    Great imagery of the temporal flesh being removed from the eternal soul. Entering eternity freed of the chaff. This is definitely a poem that causes you to ponder life and death. Well Done John!
    LikeReply 18 months ago
    • Vixility
      David, thanks! The dualism was definitely influenced by Plato’s “Phaedo”. It was a pretty enjoyable write …
      LikeReply8 months ago
  • nfowke
    I really liked the depth and imagery of this piece
    LikeReply 18 months ago
    • Vixility
      Thank you, Naomi!
      LikeReply8 months ago


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"The Harvesting" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 19 Jun 2024. <>.

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