David Beach


Agriculture 14

The plough is routinely praised as a key
invention but the whole point of a plough
is that it is hauled through the soil, and
enabling the time’s great engine, the ox,
to be set to this task, was the yoke. ‘Strong
as an ox’ — the yoke is the reason we
say so, the phrase still knocking about,
poetry from before there were poems. And in
a sense the yoke does grant a person the
strength of an ox, indeed two, Ox Men the
first superheroes — ones moreover who’d
have to be acknowledged of particular
distinction since, rather than merely
saving civilisation, they began it.



David Beach lived in Sydney for 16 years before returning to Wellington in 2002. Two books of his sonnets — Abandoned Novel (2006) and The End of Atlantic City (2008) — have been published by Victoria University Press.