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Won't Hoe Corn

Updated on November 18, 2014

By: Wayne Brown

(Writer's Note: I was very inspired by Dan Tyminski's performance included in a video below of the the song "The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn". Although the outcome is different, the song serves as the inspiration and is worth a listen.)

Just a young one in overalls; barely just a man

Left on the world all alone to do the best he can

Hired on with an old farmer one early summer morn

Put him to work in the field hoeing weeds out of the corn

He worked on shares that corn crop he toiled to raise

Hoed corn from dawn to dark for weeks of seven days

Grew up level to his eyes from a start of only seeds

A fine outcome from all his hoeing of them ol’ weeds

The farmer had a beautiful daughter just about his age

The young man was taken with her at an early stage

But she paid little mind to his attentions newly-born

Obviously looking for more than a man who hoed corn

Then came the fall and an unexpected early frost

That head-high corn stood in the field totally lost

Looking back and thinking of the sweat he’d borne

He threw down the hoe and vowed to never hoe corn

The farmer said he was lazy; no longer worth his needs

If he could not go into the corn and hoe out the little weeds

The daughter turned her back on him; seemed quite forlorn

Saying that she couldn’t respect a man who would not hoe corn

He left that farm and rambled on in his journey all alone

Never to farm another day; his words inscribed in stone

He went to college and became a lawyer duly sworn

Not a bad outcome for a mere boy who would not hoe corn

He set up his legal practice in a nearby little town

Serving the legal needs of the farmers there all around

Each time one came to visit in their sweat-stained hat worn

He was yet again reminded to never hoe a row of corn

And then one day the farmer’s daughter came into his place

Her eyes filled with tears and a look of grief upon her face

She told him that her father died in the hours of that early morn

And now she was all alone and had no one to hoe the corn

He placed himself at her side and helped her with her grief

He was there through the funeral to bring her some relief

Then on bended knees, he begged her for her hand

Promised that he’d marry her and they would sell the land

She was flatter by his proposal but told him “no” instead

Knowing he was no farmer at heart; a man she couldn’t wed

She remembered the day he left that farm like a summer storm

And vowed with rage that he would never hoe another man’s corn

His heart was broken with her rejection; his long-held love unfulfilled

The maiden had chosen to stay upon the farm that her daddy willed

His love had been turned asunder; his proposal rejected in scorn

By the beautiful woman he first met in his young days of hoeing corn

The months they passed as the fair lass gazed upon her fields setting idle

She could sell the land and move to town yet refused to wear that bridle

Her heart longed for the lawyer boy but the relationship was now torn

Never would he return to her as he had vowed never to hoe corn

It was early in the month of June, in early morning she gazed upon the land

There in the distant field was a lawyer in overalls; a hoe in his hand

He was planting the seeds in the ground which would sprout up in early morn

He’d come again to offer his love and work the field hoeing corn

©Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved.

30 December 2012

© 2012 Wayne Brown


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    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @shiningirisheyes....And so it was, young lass, so it was! LOL! Thanks much. Glad you liked it. ~WB

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Fantastic story/song you've shared and I thank you. He must have held an impressive sight in that field on that clear June morning.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @teaches12345....Thanks very much for that feedback and the kind words. Poetry has been a difficult genre for me as it is rare to get one that catches the bullet and rises up very high in the points earned. This one has risen quickly. So glad you enjoyed the read and the story. ~WB

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      Great read and I enjoyed the story. Guess the lesson is well learned by the girl and lawyer. You have talent here, Wayne and it shows.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @Genna East....I tend to agree with you. Thanks! ~WB

      @Gypsy Rose Lee...Thank you, so glad you enjoyed it! ~WB

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Loved this. Could see miles and miles of corn field in the sunshine. Thoughts of family values and tradition. Passing this on. May you have the best year ever.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thanks, Wayne. I think that many people taking help truly need it…for example our seniors who were hurt in the 2008 financial crisis…they lost so much -- their savings and the value of their homes; and our disabled veterans, etc. I also know that there are jobs out there that aren’t being filled. I have one particular client who recently asked me about the risks of hiring illegal immigrants to do construction work for his growing firm. I said, “Don’t do it…it’s against the law, and the sanctions are not worth the risks to your booming firm, and to your family.” He pays his people well, but he complained that it is hard to find people who are willing to do construction work; they are late and don’t show up; have drinking or drug problems, and so forth. I think that the “takers” who lack a work ethic are unjustly hurting those who are deserving, and it is a shame to watch them all too often lumped into one category. Enjoy your day. :-)

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @Genna East...I was intrigued by the line in the song where the young man told the girl, "You'll rue the day you were born for giving me the devil cause I wouldn't hoe corn". I think the poem reflects some of the attitude we see today and some of the lack of work ethic evident in our population. People have become too good to work when there is work to be had. There is no longer any shame associated with able people taking handouts...what a shame! Glad you enjoyed it! Happy New Year! ~WB

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Wow, Wayne! This is one of your best. I didn't read politics into this; I just thought of my life, that of my family and their values in that we do what we need to do to help others. What form that help takes is up to the individual. I looked at the lawyer's hoeing of the corn as symbolic of sustaining a way of life. Happy New Year.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @drbj...I am guessing that the lawyer will put her to hoeing the corn just to keep her busy while he searches for a buyer for the land at an over-blown of those Filthy McNasty deals! LOL! I suffer with you same ailments. I have ceased writing political essays because I feel like the points fall on deaf ears. Never has there been a politician who has been given so many passes...even Bill Clinton cannot compete. A price will be paid though...elections have consequences. Thanks, Doc...and Happy New Year! ~WB

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      5 years ago from south Florida

      I'm still suffering, Wayne, from post-election blues, so the first thing I thought of when I read your title was our nation of 'entitlement folks' who won't hoe corn, or participate in any other meaningful project that requires actual work.

      But I did enjoy your poetry and the video. Tell the lawyer now that he has his love back, to return to lawyering and hire a few good hands to hoe the corn.

      Congrats on the retirement and a very Happy New Year to ya.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @TFP....You're too funny, Jim! Glad you are showing up tonight....looking forward to seeing you. ~WB

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      5 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Wayne - See ya there. I was hoping some homeless dude didn't snatch the goodies off the porch. Or that Santa got greedy since I left him some here. They disappeared and I am still wondering why Bullet was burping a lot Christmas morning :)


    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @The Frog Prince...B and I are going over to Biraporetti's for a while tonight. We'll drink one for ya! BTW...the Christmas munchies were excellent! Thanks, Jim and Happy New Year! ~WB

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      5 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Magnificent video and great work on your part too Wayne. Congrats on your official retirement as of today. Going for dinner at the haunt tonight. Will tip one for you in salute!

      There are some other good videos at the conclusion of that presented here. Happy New Year.

      The Frog Prince

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @fpherj48....I thought when I wrote this that you, Paula, would be the one to pick up on the romantic angle of it all. You have not disappointed! LOL! Thanks much and Happy New Year! ~WB

      @David Warren....Yes, he plays regularly with Alison Krause & Union Station....they are awesome. Thanks David and Happy New Year to you as well! ~WB

    • David Warren profile image

      David Warren 

      5 years ago from Nevada and Puerto Vallarta

      Great musicians, thank you! Great poem as well! Up and awesome and hope you have a Happy New Years!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      OK OK.....great never disappoint...but "enough," I say, of the ooohs & ahhhhs! Hate to ruin the romantic moment..but let's get real.

      Wayne, your farmer's daughter was not raised properly, or she's a bit on the deficit side of the cerebellum.

      Marry the lawyer, girl! You get the good life in the city and you can keep the farm too! Hire a couple of farm hands to hoe your damned corn. Live in a nice home in the city and have a peaceful get-away, in the country. Now, THAT'S using your noodle! And Wayne...please tell that poor soon as she marries him, he'll not pick up that hoe again!!.........UP+++ Ya think the real meaning of your poem might have gotten away from me? Oops, sorry, Wayne. :)

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @lrc7815....Thanks so much, Linda. Glad you enjoyed it it and Happy New Year! ~WB

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      5 years ago from Central Virginia

      Wayne, this is fabulous. I love the poem, the inspiration and the video is awesome too. Voted up, awesome, and sharing.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @CMerritt...Glad you enjoyed it, Chris. Happy New Year to you early! I'll try to entertain you again next year as well! LOL! ~WB

      @breakfastpop...I am sure Obama sent them his wedding wishes and reminded them that "they didn't build that!" Such is the happy ending in all fairy tales. Thanks, Poppy and Happy New Year! ~WB

    • breakfastpop profile image


      5 years ago

      Loved the poem, but I have to say the girl may have not deserved the lawyer. However, I think they both learned something and things turned out okay. I wonder if the government can do the same. Up and awesome.

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 

      5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      The things we do for our women!

      Excellent way to end the year Wayne,

      Looking forward to what you have in store for 2013!


    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @billybuc...Yeah, I needed it to go that way as opposed to the song. My best wishes to you as well for the coming year, Bill. I really hope it is a great one for you. Thanks much! ~WB

      @Pamela99...Yes, I made a vow or two in much the same way in my early years. Like crow, I ate them when the time came! LOL! Thanks much, Pam. ~WB

      @Becky Katz....You're so shard, Becky! LOL! Thanks do have a point. Things always look different as well when surrounded by love. ~WB

      @Mhatter99...Thank you, so glad you enjoyed it. ~WB

      @MartieCoetser....Yes, the metaphor showed up at just the right moment for me. It defined the measure of dislike within the young man and his rush to get away from it. Thanks much, Martie. ~WB

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      5 years ago from South Africa

      Lovely story with striking message.

      And what a striking metaphor - ".... left that farm like a summer storm...."

      Happy New Year, Wayne. May 2013 meets all your expectations :)

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. Great reflection and love the song,

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      He vowed never to hoe another man's corn. It is his now, so things are different.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I love the poem and the ending. I guess it is a lesson to us all not to vow we will never do something because time and circumstance has a way of making us eat those words. Loved the song. Happy New Year!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gotta love a happy ending! Great stuff, Wayne. I come from a family of corn farmers so there is a spot in my heart for a poem and song along these lines. Happy New Year to you!

    • marwanchiguer profile image

      Marwan Chiguer 

      5 years ago from Errachidia , Morocco

      Hello wayn , Please can You Read My Story , You will find it in My Hubs ^^

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      5 years ago from Texas

      @WillStarr...Just tryin' to close the year with a bang, Will! Thanks much. ~WB

      @rebakahELLE...So glad you enjoyed this one. I found the song quite moving and very inspiring. When that happens, I try to find a way to write in conjunction with it. Thanks so much for your kind words. ~WB

    • rebekahELLE profile image


      5 years ago from Tampa Bay

      I'm always so delighted when I find a treasure on my feed. I love the poem, the story, the love. The video is fabulous entertainment, love, love, love the music! Great hub which deserves to be found and read!

    • WillStarr profile image


      5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Wow! Great stuff Wayne!


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