Behind the Plow

Behind the Plow by Leo Dangel

I look in the turned sod 
for an iron bolt that fell
from the plow frame
and find instead an arrowhead
with delicate, chipped edges,
still sharp, not much larger
than a woman’s long fingernail.
Pleased, I put the arrowhead
into my overalls pocket,
knowing that the man who shot
the arrow and lost his work
must have looked for it
much longer than I will
look for that bolt.

Lori's notes: This poem is posted here courtesy of American 
Life in Poetry.
American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation
(, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is 
also supported by the Department of English at the University of 
Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©1987 by Leo Dangel, whose most 
recent book of poems is The Crow on the Golden Arches, Spoon River 
Poetry Press, 2004. Poem reprinted from A Harvest of Words: Pine Hill 
Press, Inc., 2010, by permission of Leo Dangel and the publisher. 

According to Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate 2004-2006:
"South Dakota poet Leo Dangel has written some of the best 
and truest poems about rural life that I’m aware of."

8 thoughts on “Behind the Plow

  1. I love this. I often look for arrow heads with my grandsons. We found something that came close once. To think about the back story as this poem does is fascinating

  2. Thanks, Lori, for making me smile. What a treat it is to find the unexpected that brings delight while looking for the mundane we think we need.

  3. That sure makes me stop, think, and wonder. How long did it take to fashion? Was it effective when sprung loose? How far had it flown? Was it flint? How many had its owner made?
    Thanks for sharing this observation from Leo Dangel!

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  5. Thank you for introducing me to new poets. Especially since I like the ones I’ve met through you.

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